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.