Berenjak

Silver Award
££££
Middle Eastern, Persian

Berenjak
Berenjak
Berenjak
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SquareMeal Review of Berenjak

Silver Award

Inspired by the kebab joints of Tehran and spearheaded by former Gymkhana chef Kian Samyani, this no-bookings venture from the team behind Bao and Hoppers is a tiny corridor-like space, with stools at a counter overlooking the open kitchen, and tables in leatherette booths along a wall decorated with artfully distressed plaster. There’s also an atmospherically snug little dining area at the back with light and heat coming from a flaming tandoor and the coals of a mangal barbecue.

The idea is for two people to share half a dozen small plates, prettily served on silver saucers, before a couple of kebabs each. A dish of aubergine combined with onions cooked for so long they were almost caramelised was the real flavour revelation, scooped up with excellent bread from the clay tandoor; elsewhere grilled calf’s liver with onion salad added punch and a feta salad creamy freshness.

To follow, a kebab made with minced goat shoulder was terrifically succulent and beautifully seasoned, though the speciality destined for must-order status is the kabab torki – a dish that reinvents the post-pub guilty pleasure of ‘kebab and chips’ as a mixed meat shawarma atop a bed of fries drizzled with homemade chilli and garlic sauce. Order a side of authentically hot pickled chillies to cut through the richness.

Without drinks, you could eat very well at Berenjak for £30 a head, though that would be to miss out on the charms of the house-special ‘sharbats’ (fruit cordials), which can be spiked with vodka, gin and Tequila if you so desire. Wines (four in total) will bump up the bill, but bottled beer is closer to the cheap and very cheerful spirit of the place. 

About Berenjak

Berenjak is named after the colourful, toasted rice snacks that are popular in Persia and is the passion project of owner Kian Samyani. Growing up in London as part of a Persian family, Samyani’s childhood was punctuated with the joys of shared mealtimes and wanted to celebrate and elevate this experience in his restaurant. Having worked for Jamie Oliver as well as at Benares in Mayfair and at The Bingham in Richmond, a Michelin star spot, Samyani’s CV is certainly impressive, and his experience is demonstrated in the standard of cooking at Berenjak.

While the restaurant is said to want to imitate the ‘rustic hole-in-the-wall eateries’ of Tehran, we suspect this has somewhat strayed from its roots with a beautiful foliage-filled dining room and a polished menu which makes the most of seasonal British produce. With the choice between a feast and the main food menu, guests are given the chance to try the chef’s recommendations or pick out their own favourites from the a la carte. Here you’ll find kababs that are carefully marinated and then cooked over coals for that signature chargrilled flavour, alongside small sharing-style mazeh plates. Combinations like feta, radishes, nuts and fresh herbs or Greek yogurt with cucumber, mint a green raisins act as a welcome refresher to the rich meat skewers. Feasts have to be taken by the whole table, but at £30 per person they represent great value for money and there’s a choice of mains to have so that there’s an element of tailoring possible. Expect a table heaving with all kinds of specials, accompanied by salad, rice and pickled chillies.

Berenjak also offers private dining, should you wish to book the restaurant for a special occasion, meeting or celebratory dinner. The semi-private garden room can seat up to 16 people, while the entire space can be booked out to accommodate 35 guests.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
Middle Eastern, Persian
Ambience
Cool, Cosy, Fun, Lively
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Counter dining, Vegetarian options
People
Birthdays, Dates, Group dining [8+]
Food Hygiene Rating

Special offers from Berenjak

£30 Feast Menu

From: 14 January, 2020
To: 14 December, 2020
Max: 20
Menu must be ordered 72 hours in advance. 72 hours notice for allergens and cancellation.

Location for Berenjak

27 Romilly Street, London, London, W1D 5AL

020 3319 8120

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon 12:00-14:30
Tue 12:00-14:30
Wed 12:00-14:30
Thu 12:00-14:30
Fri 12:00-14:30
Sat Closed
Sun Closed
Dinner
Mon 17:30-22:30
Tue 17:30-22:30
Wed 17:00-23:00
Thu 17:00-23:00
Fri 17:00-23:00
Sat Closed
Sun Closed
All day
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu Closed
Fri Closed
Sat 12:00-23:00
Sun Closed

Reviews of Berenjak

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1 Review 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Mr. Alex G

Pretty perfect Persian
10 June 2019  

The word Persian always conjures up for me images of a distant and romantic empire, both exotic and foreign. Some 20 years ago, these latter two adjectives might have been applied to London’s Soho district, but in a less than laudatory context. Somehow though, it seems appropriate that Berenjak – a newish Persian restaurant - locates itself Soho. Dig a little deeper though and Berenjak’s backers are the JKS Group, who have achieved notable success across the London culinary scene with the likes of Gymkhana, Bao, Hoppers and Xu. In other words, there is a shrewdness behind the whole Berenjak concept, from the siting of the venue through to the vibe and the food. Diners are told to expect a combination of ‘home-style’ cooking combined with a ‘hole-in-the-wall’ kebab experience; something for everyone, especially in Soho. While the mains at Berenjak are indeed centered around the grilling of meat, what you get here is about as far removed from a drunken post-pub snack as possible. Consider the interior. Sure, there is the obligatory open kitchen (replete with grills) and counter-top dining, but what is far more memorable are the distressed walls, Persian rugs and black & white photos of modern-day Iran covering the walls. Onto the food, and diners are encouraged to share a range of starters followed by a main each. The quality of the bread is one gauge I often use to judge restaurants (irrespective of style of cuisine) and Berenjak came up trumps here, with both a taftoon (sourdough) and sangak (flatbread) to accompany our chosen dips. The smell and the seed-enhanced texture were both distinctly memorable. A hummus dish could not have been more different to many mainstream offerings available elsewhere. Black chick peas and sumac not only changed the colour, but also improved the depth of the dish, lending a real earthiness to it. A whey-topped aubergine dish was also superb, with the slow-cooking of this vegetable lending an almost caramel-like impression to the dish. Both our lamb shoulder and chilli-infused chicken grilled options impressed too, particularly in terms of the tenderness of the meat. Formal the venue is not and so do not expect to linger here for long. But this is not the point: enjoy the vibe, try something new and don’t end up overpaying. Our meal came in at ~£40/head, with beers and service included.       

Food & Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

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