Restaurants & Bars

Ariana II, Kilburn, London

limster | Sep 21, 201104:01 PM

Tried their bolanee kadoo (a CH friend said I had to try Afghani pumpkin turnovers) -- small to medium blisters with faint brown scorch marks on the surface the flat bread, not as crackly dry as that from some puffy naans, but fairly crisp. The thin smear of stewed pumpkin between 2 layers of flatbread is good -- cooked down to a a very fine softness, with only the occasional fibres. It's moderately sweet, which would contrast well with the yogurt dip, if only there was more of the pumpkin; there was a tendency for the flatbread and yogurt to dominate.

Kabuli Palow was pretty good, fair meaty depth in the firm moist lamb, covered in long grained rice with modest flavour, and topped with raisins, almonds and pistachio, the sweetness of raisins contrasting well with both the meat and the mild heat of herbal-tasting chilli sauce. The quality of the rice, while fine, weren't as spectacular as could be -- while the grains were individual and well separated, they were a little too soft for me, without the light fluff and shadow of dryness from long soaking. Tasty side dish of stewed kidney beans, with perhaps a background of onion and tomato.

Dough, the herbed yogurt drink, is of the fairly thick variety without much if any detectable carbonation (the density of a drinkable yogurt smoothie). Herbs at the front, probably mint most prominent and a very faint medicinal bitterness at the end.

The rose water flavour in the firnee is great, shy but elegant, borne well by the creamy pudding, topped with lots of pistachio powder for a good sandy texture to enliven the creaminess, and slices of toasted almonds beneath.

Black tea with cardamom is basic, a pod of cardamom for a tiny aromatic depth to the tea that takes sugar well.

Sort of good not great for me. Will probably start trying other Afghani places. Anyone been to the unrelated Ariana in Mile End?

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