A Persian Terrace at The Westin Hyderabad

People from Bangalore are well aware of Persian Terrace – the fine dine restaurant at Sheraton Brigade Gateway serving cuisine from Persia and Western Asia. One of the few Persian restaurants in the country, their Chello Kababs, Mezze platters and Pilafs have been a hit with the discerning food lovers of that city. Seasonal Tastes, the restaurant at the Westin Hyderabad, which is known for their niche promotions as part of their buffet, has invited Chef Subimon from Persian Terrace to curate a festival called Persian Paradigms.

Chicken Mosahab
Chicken Mosahab

Invited for a preview we had a long discussion with Chef Subimon and Chef Mukesh from Seasonal Tastes regarding Persian cuisine. As per Chef Subimon, Persian cuisine is very healthy using select spices and little oil. There are a lot of similarities with Arabic and Turkish cuisine, especially in the mezze items. For the promotion at The Westin, the Chef has prepared a special menu choosing the most appreciated dishes from the Bangalore restaurant, as well as a few new items. He was recounting how he learnt all about the cuisine during his stint in Saudi, where he worked for a long time with an Iranian Chef.

The Hot Mezze Counter
The Hot Mezze Counter

We went for a recce of the Persian dishes on the buffet menu. There was a hot mezze counter which had Sambusak, Falafel and Kibbeh kept ready for preparation. The Chicken Mosahab just next to it was looking very inviting too. A range of cold mezze like Hummus, Fattoush and Babaghanoush were displayed at the salad area.

Live Counter
Live Counter

 A Shawarma stand was placed near the seating area. As is customary with me here, I went to the end of the restaurant and peeped at the live counter to see what’s cooking – the day’s offering had two veg dishes – Batata Harra and Cottage Cheese Shashlik and two non-veg Sumac Fish and Chicken Shish Touk.


Chicken Shish Touk
Chicken Shish Touk

I enquired about Persian Chelo Kabab with Chef Subimon and learnt that unfortunately it was not on the day’s menu. People from Kolkata have a special bond towards this dish, as it is a signature dish of an iconic restaurant there.

Mahalabia
Mahalabia

After a visit to the dessert counters, we could not wait to sample the food. A friend started his lunch with Mahalabia, the coconut milk and nut pudding. The more traditional ones dug into the starters and there were a quite a handful of them.

Joojeh Kababs
Joojeh Kababs

Joojeh Kababs, Chicken Shish Taouk and Sumac Fish were the first three non-veg appetizers. The Joojeh Kababs were very different from the spicy ones we get here in Hyderabad, marinated in hung curd and flavourful saffron and select spices. I loved the flavours of the Sumac Fish too, but the basa fish did not add to the taste. Overall, the taste of the kababs was subtle and delicious, and much less oily than the Indian counterparts.

Laboneh, Muhammara and Babaghanoush
Labneh, Muhammara and Babaghanoush

Fried Kibbeh was soft and tasted how it should - with a strong flavour of lamb mince. For vegetarians, there were sambusak and falafel. An interesting appetizer was Sarma, a dish with a filling of pickled rice folded inside a vine leaf.

Cold Mezze with Iranian Bread
Cold Mezze with Iranian Bread

At this point, the cold mezze platter arrived with varieties of Iranian bread accompanying around half a dozen dips. All the dips were yummy – I could just have a complete meal with the bread and the dips. The pick of the dips to me was Muhammara, made of roasted bell peppers, walnut and chillies.  Kisir another one prepared from tomatoes was nice and tangy.  Among the other dips, there was Hummus Babaghanoush and Labneh, a yoghurt garlic dip.

Falafel
Falafel

As I said the Chicken Mosahab was looking delicious, and we got ourselves a little bit of the preparation along with the Shawarma. The roasted chicken was again another pick of the buffet with the herb doused red coloured marinade. Arsh-A-Adus the Persian lentil soup tasted earthy and very much North Indian, a testament to the strong similarity of a few dishes with Indian food. Another dish which looked attractive was Mashi Tomato or tomatoes stuffed with flavoured rice.

Mashi Tomato
Mashi Tomato

The main courses had Majboos – a rice, black gram and prawn dish which tasted quite different from the Dubai version. A coriander dip served alongside went well with it. Khorest Mahi, the Persian fish stew tasted delicious with a saffron and tomato based gravy. The other main course was Chicken Salona, a tomato based chicken preparation.

Main Courses
Main Courses

The dessert spread was quite elaborate. Apart from Mahalabia, the Baklava with sugar and nut and Basbousa, the suji based sweet were decent. Although I did not try the Om Ali (bread and milk pudding) or Sholleh Zard (saffron rice based dessert), these were recommended by my friends.

Basbousa and Baklava

I did not have much exposure to Persian food earlier, and the discussion with the chefs educated me a lot. As said earlier, one can find a lot of similarities of some dishes with other Western Asian countries, and others to Afghan and Indian food.  The Chefs have carefully curated the menu for the festival and given a glimpse of almost all types of dishes available in the cuisine. I would love to see more such festivals in Hyderabad.

Persian Paradigms is on till 30th March. The promotion is part of the Seasonal Tastes buffet for lunch and dinner at the regular buffet rates.

Location:
Seasonal Tastes
The Westin Mindspace
Hitech City, Hyderabad
Telephone: 67676888

Disclaimer: The review is based on an invite from the restaurant. However, the opinion expressed in the post are honest and unbiased.







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