Roaringly busy throughout the week, this Persian restaurant is well hidden among the elegant houses of Warwick Avenue. Just a handful of tables are packed into a tight, conspicuously plain space.
The atmosphere is provided by elbow-to-elbow diners and by furiously enthusiastic staff who tear around delivering refined, modern Iranian dishes, and chip in with friendly chatter. If you’re after a bit of privacy (or peace), head for the small basement room, which features a communal table and a pretty courtyard; romantically low lit, it’s ideal for an intimate party. In fact, Kateh is a great special-occasion destination. With a menu that’s a touch more expensive than the average for its type, and an arty, contemporary approach to plating up, it has the air of a smart European brasserie and the clientele to match.
Hearty classics, such as ghalieh mahi (an excellent fish stew made tart with tamarind) and saffron-marinated grilled meats, feature alongside less defiantly Persian dishes – a charred sardine, basil and lemon starter, for example, minced veal kebab, or a frozen blueberry yoghurt dessert. It’s a creative and appealing mix, made more so by the quality of ingredients, the warm service and the stylish surroundings.