Found in one of those parts of west London ill-served by the tube, Sufi is a good 15-minute walk from the nearest station, so on a dark Monday night in the middle of a torrential downpour we were surprised to find it so busy. It has the ambience and decor of a good café rather than a restaurant, where you’ll find a young man rolling out thin taftoon (leavened bread) and baking them briefly in the oven at the front of the shop, while the owner takes orders, committing them to memory rather than paper (and, in our case, forgetting the extra bread with the mains).
Starters aren’t that inspiring: yoghurt with a range of additions and accompaniments dominates, though somewhere in all that we found an olivieh (a chicken and potato salad) which was more egg and potato mayonnaise in truth but, with the hot fresh bread, still hit the spot. Better are the mains, and stews in particular, where this restaurant excels. Take the khoresh ghaimeh: a lamb dish chock-full of meat, dried limes and split chickpeas. Its sweet tomato sauce had a faint bitter tail which increased to a luscious citrus heart once we were encouraged to squeeze between fork and spoon any limes we found, stirring in the hot juices. A fessenjan – chicken in a pomegranate sauce with grated walnuts – was sweet and sour in equal parts.
Of course, it would be a pity to miss out on the skewered kebabs. Our tip? Order them as sides: they’re quite the bargain. If you must have dessert then go for sweet and sticky baklava. We’d rather go back for another side of koobideh kebab.