Patogh Restaurant

 

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Iranians either relish or refuse to have anything to do with Patogh, a kebab joint more akin to one of Tehran’s cluttered cafés than its cosmopolitan restaurants. Walls the colour of cold coffee peel and crack; shared tables leave little room for intimacy; and decoration is limited to a handful of Persian paintings, a pair of red lanterns, and a string of coloured light bulbs such as grace the galvanised tea huts at the base of the Alborz mountains. Luxuries are rare (tap water at this BYO venue arrived in a scuffed plastic measuring jug), but few places serve Iranian street food with such an eye for detail. A starter of masto musir was whipped to a pleasing thickness, and made the ideal accompaniment to fresh bread peppered with sesame and poppy seeds. Both chicken and minced lamb kebabs were artfully seasoned and cooked just so: charred on the outside, juicy within. A heaped portion of rice was served traditionally, with butter melting at its centre. Those seeking subtle Iranian stews and soups should look elsewhere, but for an authentic taste of downtown Tehran, Patogh can’t be beaten.

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