You do get the sense, as you walk through the door at this Persian restaurant, that you're being let in on a little culinary secret.
As far as new restaurants go, Kateh is a real find. Tucked away on Warwick Place, you'd be forgiven for walking past it on this mostly residential stretch. You do get the sense, as you walk through the door of this Persian restaurant, that you're being let in on a little culinary secret.
We visited on a mid-week evening, and there were only two other tables occupied as we took our seats. It's an intimate affair at Kateh, with about nine or ten tables on the ground floor as you walk in. There's also an outdoor patio and a stylishly decorated private dining room downstairs (which seats 12), but the bulk of the seating greets you as you walk through the door.
As we started to scour the menu, an aperitif was set down on the table in the form of two glasses, filled with white wine vinegar, rose water and curls of cucumber. A typical Persian cooler, this aperitif was beautifully delicate and one to bookmark for those sweltering summer days. The starters at Kateh are varied, and with around fifteen to choose from, deciding what to have can take as long as eating it here. Yoghurt dips, pickles, salads, flat breads and soups make up most of what's on offer in the starter section, all given their Persian stamp with the addition of herbs and spices. We tried 'Mast va Khiar Damavand' (yoghurt dip with mint, raisins, walnut & cucumber), some flatbreads for dipping and the Bombay potato cake to start. The dip looked gorgeous as it arrived on the table, flecked with its flavourings of mint, cucumber and rose petals, and the Bombay potato cake was just delicious. It was delicately spiced with a slow burn of chilli that brought a welcome kick to each mouthful. To be honest, we wished we'd ordered two instead of one.
Our main dishes came in the shape of a lightly spiced chicken kebab with saffron rice, and 'Fessenjan' (duck leg, pomegranate and walnut stew, with saffron rice). Both dishes were subtly spiced and a real pleasure to tuck into. The chicken was simply cooked, but full of flavour, whilst the duck stew was rich, dark and warming. Chic comfort food if you will. The only tiny disappointment was the pudding – the Persian date & walnut cookies we tried, came with cinnamon ice cream (which was lovely), but each mouthful was still so dry we ordered a pot of tea to go with it.
Kateh is the first Persian restaurant venture for Narges Pourkhomami, who currently owns Italian restaurant Red Pepper in Maida Vale, (celebrating its 18th year). Her aim to combine the best of traditional and contemporary Iranian hospitality has been created with the launch of Kateh, and with Amrit Upadhyay as Head Chef, it's doing that terribly well already. By the time we'd finished our meal, a good few extra tables were occupied. The only drawback of this current culinary secret, is that invariably people talk, and word gets around. See how selfless we are at iLoveMyGrub? We're that dedicated to flagging up decent restaurants, that we even talk about the ones we don't really want everyone else to know about. Let's just hope the prices don't jump too much in the next year at Kateh. It's covetable location, beautifully spiced food and extremely reasonable price tag, are all set to see it draw in the crowds.
Starters from £3.50 - £4.50, mains from £8.50 - £15.50, desserts from £4.00 - £5.50.
For more information, please visit: http://www.katehrestaurant.co.uk/
Written by: Helenka Bednar