Nailed to the walls – and even parts of the ceiling – pretty spoons, Persian teapots, trays and other silverware serve as quirky decoration in this long-running neighbourhood restaurant. Books are also artfully arranged as ornamental installations, perhaps a nod to the restaurant’s namesake: 14th-century Persian poet Hafez. There’s certainly a poetic approach on the menu, which explains the joy of sharing food and the kitchen’s traditional style of cooking. Kebabs (aromatic, generously sized and lean) are grilled over charcoal, stews are gently slow-cooked and rice is boiled then steamed for a fluffy light finish. Hafez’s signature dish, the pomegranate-based fesenjan, is among just six chicken and lamb stews (four of which are also available in vegetarian versions) on a brief, but interesting menu. Made the classic way with big pieces of chicken, the fesenjan also featured a thick sauce that was sweet and tart in equal measure. The dish seemed particularly popular among the staff, who proudly raved about it, as well as the restaurant’s wafer-thin, sesame-topped bread made fresh to order. Established in 1983, Hafez has perfected the art of extending hospitable, familiar service to both regulars and newcomers; it has understandably built a loyal local fan base.
5 Hereford Road
|Opening hours:||Meals served noon-11.30pm daily|
|Transport:||Tube: Bayswater tube or bus 328|
|Price:||Main courses £7.90-£14.90|