By Caroline Fakhri
A drizzly Sunday at the beginning of March took me to one of my favourite Iranian restaurants in London, Senator, in Hendon, for a late lunch early dinner of ab-goosht, sometimes referred to as dizzi. Do not eat late at night as you need time to digest this wholesome dish. It is perfect for cold winter days as it heats you up and will leave you well insulated against the cold March winds coming our way.
Ab-goosht or dizzi is a dish which like most Persian dishes benefits from long slow cooking. You will be rewarded with a thick red soup into which you can put pieces of freshly baked taftoon(a flat bread) baked in a traditional oven right there in front of you. After the ‘soup part’, so much more than a soup, take the lid off your personal stoneware pot which is full to the brim with all the ingredients that have made the first part of the meal so wholesome; chickpeas, white flat beans, lamb chunks, potatoes and tomatoes. Empty the contents into the copper bowl and mash with your very own masher (goosht koob).
The meal comes accompanied by lots of freshly baked bread, fresh herbs such as mint and tarragon, onion, ‘torshy’ pickled vegetables and we ordered a jug of doug, a rich yogurt drink topped with dried mint.
The whole experience in Senator is so much more than great food. We finished off with a pot of tea, served in small glasses to show off the amber colour.
What I love about Senator in winter is its cosy warm interior and in summer the outside space where you can smoke a shisheh if you so wish. The restaurant is small enough to ensure great personal service almost as if you were a guest in someone’s home. The staff are attentive and always make sure you have everything you need. Don’t take my word for it, give it a go. The menu has something to suit all tastes. You won’t be disappointed.
Senator Restaurant ,11 Bell Lane London NW4