They’ve kept adornment to a minimum at this West Hampstead restaurant. Even the tanoor oven and charcoal grill, so often taking pride of place at Persian restaurants, are tucked away in the kitchen. Instead, the most eye-catching feature is a wall-mounted fake fire.
Despite the unorthodox decor, Hana’s menu is largely traditional, offering a range of fresh salads - like pomegranate and cucumber-based dezfouli, warming stews served with saffron rice, and tender charcoal-grilled kebabs. The prices are good too with mains at £7 to £12.50.
A warm starter of crushed, grilled aubergines with tomatoes and garlic (mirza ghasemi) had a silky texture, and a pleasingly smoky flavour - well balanced by the sweetness of the tomatoes. Own-made organic taftoon wholemeal flatbread from the tanoor oven - puffy edged and sprinkled with sesame seeds - was the perfect medium to mop it up with.
Two classic stews exemplified the range of contrasting flavours in Persian cooking. Slow-cooked chicken in a thick walnut and pomegranate sauce (fesenjan) was rich and sweet with a hint of bitterness, while a vegetarian herb and bean stew (ghormeh sabzi) was savoury and a little tart from the whole, dried, Persian limes it was cooked with.
Given the quality of the cooking here, and affordable prices, it’s little wonder this friendly neighbourhood restaurant is popular with locals.