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10 Russell Gardens
Queues outside this local Persian are a reminder that it has established itself as one of the best places in town to eat minced ‘chelo’ kebabs with rice. Local Iranians and others in the know
generally open the show with a mixed mezze of strained yoghurt, freshly baked bread, walnuts and mirza ghassemi (smoked aubergine, garlic and tomato). For main course, it’s also worth taking a
leaf out of the locals’ book and sticking to the grilled kebabs – not only chelo, but also chicken with saffron and lemon. Essential sides include more warm bread, and basmati rice – pimped
up with raw egg yolk, butter and herbs if required. BYO keeps bills in check, and Alounak also provides takeaways and local deliveries. A ‘great place’ for a taste of true Persian cooking.
10 Russell Gardens
Kensington Olympia Station 261m
Kensington Olympia Tube Station 316m
Charles House 608m
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
portions are huge, so don't get too carried away with the starters. On and don't forget to BYOB!
Being Iranian, I am fully aware that we are a picky people and we definitely all have our own favourite venues for eating Chelo Kebab (Kebab and rice).. Alounak is probably my favourite, not because the food is the very best, but more so because they are a good all-rounder really. I order a lot of take away from them mostly, as for any Iranian, sitting in an Persian restaurant can be really awkward as you usually end up knowing someone and get locked into needless polite conversation with one, or sometimes more people.
This is definitely the place I would recommend to people who want to take tourists, friends and out-of-towners out to dinner to, in order to give them a taste of Persian cuisine. At least the staff aren't pushy and rude like some other Persian restaurants.
Mixed starters are always a great way to sample a little of everything, but for those in the know, we usually start our meal with some naan bread, cheese and fresh herbs and walnuts. Maast-o-moosir is another classic, with thick strained yoghurt with lots of garlic and delicious aubergine dips of ‘Mirza Ghassemi’ (smoked aubergine, garlic and tomato) or ‘Kashk-e-bademjoon’ (Aubergine with caramelised onions and whey)
Main courses for most Iranians have to be kebab. Nobody really goes there for the other dishes, like stews etc. That stuff is more to keep you Brits amused, as we eat that at home. Kebab is something special that can only be made on a proper charcoal BBQ grill. Everything from marinated filled, minced lamb to saffron and lemon chicken that is so meltingly tender you could eat a mountain of it. All served with a heap of aromatic basmati rice and the offered additions of raw onion, butter and raw egg yolk (ready to be mixed into your steaming hot rice)
I think more people should try Persian food. Most people dont have a clue what it is… ! Its completely different to anything else in the world and its absolutely delicious! Alounak do a very good selection of dishes which make it a great place to go to with friends.
Food + drink: 2
How did this place ever get a recommendation?! Our party sampled a wide variety from the menu, and it was all unfailingly dire (except the bread). Given the location and prices we weren't expecting Michelin-star cooking or service, but nor did we expect it to be as bad as it was. Firstly the starters or meze – you can find better quality on any supermarket shelf, fresh or tinned – even the basics or economy version would be an improvement on some of the dishes we were served. Main courses – scraggy lamb dished up in a variety of indifferent ways, with cheap rice which was as near to fragrant Persian rice (chelou) as salad cream is to mayonnaise. The quality of service matched the food. Be warned!
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