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DESERT delights



Be at Sufi for that wonderful Persian experience -- Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

TIRED OF eating pan-Asian, tandoori, and Italian fare every time you step out for a meal with the family? Give yourself a refreshing change and eat Persian instead, for the city now offers you that. Interestingly called Sufi, the spacious restaurant ensures you have a wonderful Persian experience that goes beyond just food, with a beautiful shopping gallery with Persian handicrafts and artefacts on display.

Situated off Airport Road, Sufi was started by Vahid Berenjian and Dr. Karimi from Iran, in the hope of "offering Bangaloreans the varied flavours of Persian dishes which have been extremely popular internationally".

Judging by the spread they have put together, in an ambience that truly gives you the Persian experience. You find yourself sitting on raised Poshti cushions around a table, eating in traditional style with crockery and cutlery that have been imported from Iran. You order from an elaborate menu that reads backwards!

Most dishes present a visual and gastronomic treat for the non-vegetarians with chelo kababs (made of rice and minced meat, flavoured with rich spices, easily the most popular Persian dish), kobideh, and chelo kabab sultani. All kababs, whether lamb, chicken, or beef, are served with a portion of basmati saffron rice. For those who wish to try a little of everything, the kabab platter is a good option. Thanks to the Persian style of cooking, you can savour succulent kababs where minimal spices of salt, pepper, and saffron are used. The taste is impeccable, especially in the kabab-e-shishleek and kabab-e-mahi.

The vegetarian fare may need you to acquire a taste for it, as the khoresht (gravies) are very different from our preparations. Aubergines in tomato gravy, okra in tomato gravy again, or leafy vegetables with kidney beans, all cooked in Persian style, bear similarities to Indian preparations, albeit the key ingredients are very much Persian. However, the kashk-e-badmejan, very much like our baigan ka bharta, tastes unique because of the whey sauce topping.

So is dolmeh kalam, which is cabbage leaves stuffed and steamed. A beverage that goes really well with a Persian meal is doogh, made of yoghurt, soda, and herbs. That's an excellent choice for those who enjoy lassi.

Must-haves at Sufi are the lobia polo or rice cooked with French beans. Available in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, it's delicacy. Yet another unmissable is bastani or Persian ice-cream. Ranginak (stuffed dates on a bed of halwa) and faloodeh are also worth saving space in the tummy for.

Sufi also serves Indian tandoori food. You cal call Sufi on 56901188.

Ambience: Persian

Service: Good

Speciality: Chelo kababs,

lobia polo, and bastani

Wallet Factor: Rs. 500 to

Rs. 600 for a meal for two

TINA GARG

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