Great-value Afghan/Persian cooking served in a charmingly kitsch dining room.
Among the fast-food joints and grocery shops of the Broadway, Zeytoon is an Afghan/Persian stalwart with charming if kitsch decor – heavy wooden furniture and carved alcoves featuring 1970s-style murals depicting Persian myths. Tucked in the corner is the culinary star: a small tandoor where nigella seed-studded flatbread is baked fresh, crisp on the outside, cushiony soft inside. Subtle traditional music forms the aural backdrop, producing a vibe that is more Kermanshah than Cricklewood. We’ve heard moans about the service here, but on our latest visit, hungry staff waiting for Ramadan iftar (evening meal) couldn’t have been more smiley and amenable. Afghan specialities such as kalleh pacheh (lamb’s head and feet in broth), mantu (meat- and onion-stuffed dumplings with spicy sauce) and quroot (a sour cottage cheese made from sheep or goat’s milk) sit alongside familiar Persian dishes. Warm aubergine with walnuts, herbs and kashk (whey) was a touch bland in comparison to a fresh and herby, finely chopped salad olivieh (russian salad with chicken). Succulent chicken breast kebab with salad and a veritable mountain of dry saffron rice lacked pzazz, but chelow khoresht-e-qeimeh (lamb, tomato and split-pea stew), zesty and fragrant with dried lime, certainly hit the spot. A good local.