Randomness Guide to London - Differences between Version 9 and Version 8 of Iran E Ma, SE1 0AJ

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summary='Now closed; used to be a Persian restaurant in Borough.'
postcode='SE1 0AJ'
summary='Persian restaurant in Borough.'

Note: Iran E Ma closed in May 2008, according to the London-SE1 website. The information below is retained for those who want to know what it used to be like.

Persian restaurant in Borough. Also does takeaway and delivery. The Londonist review linked below says they do BYOB too.

Kake and doop tried the delivery option on a Saturday evening in March 2008. Although they don't offer online ordering, the phone ordering process was relatively painless. Even though it was a Saturday night the food came faster than we'd expected.

One thing to note is that if you find yourself spending more than £10 per person, you have ordered too much. We spent just under £30 for the two of us and only managed about half of it. The portions of bread and rice are very generous, and also very good; plus the other dishes are more filling than they might appear. Yet none of it was stodgy, and the flavours were good and fresh.

Among the starters/mezze, we particularly liked the mirza ghasemi (£3), a smoky concoction of mashed aubergine, fried onion, garlic, egg, tomato, and kashk (a thick whey product). Houmous (£2.50) wasn't bad, but wasn't outstanding either. Boorani spinach (cooked spinach mixed with onion, garlic, cream, and yoghurt; £2.50) was more dairy-heavy than we'd expected; wouldn't order it again, but if you like dairy you might like this. The Persian pickles (£2) were the style of pickle that's fairly harshly vinegary, with no ameliorating sweetness; Kake liked, doop didn't.

The main course options are split between grilled skewered meats and meat stews, though three of the stews can be ordered without the meat as a vegetarian option. We tried the jojeh kebab (chicken pieces, £6.50 including rice), which was fine. We also tried the vegetarian fesenjan (£5.50 including rice), which turned out to be simply the fesenjan sauce on its own; they'd just left the meat out, rather than substituting in some kind of vegetable matter (and indeed with no reduction in price from the meat version). So don't order this expecting it to be an actual standalone vegetarian option - but as it turned out, it went very very well with the chicken kebab, and since we weren't trying to feed any actual vegetarians it all worked out fine. (The other two vegetarian options include vegetables and beans by default, so would probably be better choices.)

Kake and doop ordered again in April 2008, and were again very pleased with the food. Phone ordering was slightly less competent this time; doop asked for the vegetarian version of chelow khoresht bamyeh (£5.50) but we got sent the lamb version, plus we also received a lamb kebab that we hadn't intended to order.

We tried the non-veggie version of fasenjan this time, and confirmed that the "vegetarian" version we got last time was indeed the meat version with the meat left out; the meat version comprises large pieces of tender lamb in a large amount of tangy sauce, and nothing else. Tasty though. The chelow khoresht bamyeh was good too, very slightly sour. The okra in it were cooked for a very very long time but this worked in the context of the dish; the lamb was also long-cooked and falling-apart tender.

We tried a different aubergine-based starter this time, the kashk-o-bademjan (£3). It was nearly as good as the smoked aubergine we tried last time. It's worth noting that both the aubergine starters are a lot more filling than you might expect, due to the use of kashk.

Rice was again excellent.

The packaging of the food was notably good too. Everything that was meant to be hot arrived piping hot. They wrap things up well to insulate them.

Probably not a good bet for vegetarians, on the basis of our two attempts so far.

Will definitely order from here again. It's very cheap, especially considering the decency of the quality and the size of the portions.

See also:

Food last sampled by Kake and doop, 8 March 2008.

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