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This restaurant is now closed.
First there was Masa in Harrow: a low-key if well-liked Afghan restaurant with food easily outshining its bland, shopping-precinct surrounds. A less likely candidate to sprout a West End branch you could scarcely imagine. Yet here we are, behind a little, easily missed shop-front on Goodge Street. The interior of Masa mark II is simply furnished, based around a grill (kebabs sizzling) and food counter at the front, with no-frills tables and chairs on new dark-wood flooring to the side and rear.
Unlike the Harrow original, no TV blares, but, thankfully, the same menu is served. Imagine Middle Eastern, Turkish and North Indian/Pakistani repertoires combined, and you get the idea. We tucked in with abandon, heartened by the BYO policy and the low, low prices.
Bourani Afghani is a tangy tomato and aubergine stew topped with yoghurt; we followed it with equally flavour-packed ashak (leek-filled dumplings) and mantoo (more dumplings, this time filled with minced lamb), both featuring nicely chewy pasta. Nan breads, arriving in abundance, were top-drawer too. Only a dryish lamb shank served with raisin-dotted pilau failed to please, though an accompanying rogan-josh-like curry more than made amends – as did the mint-topped zesty dogh (yoghurt drink) and the young, clued-up service.
Reviewed by Phil Harriss