IF the outside of the Golzar Restaurant is a little shabby, it does draw attention to the massive car park and bus stop, right outside the door.

Inside, I received a warm welcome from the waiter. The decor was bright, clean and tidy, but although it was 8.30pm on a Thursday, the large, airy room was fairly empty.

The waiter checked if I had eaten Persian food before, because, he explained, there was a menu of pictures to help customers unfamiliar with the fare. It was a good idea, but somehow the photos, set out like a Seventies’ cafe menu, did not inspire confidence.

It was clear walnuts, lime and pomegranate are among favoured ingredients and there were plenty of vegetarian options.

I chose kashk bodem-joon as a starter. It was described as fried aubergine, baked with cherry tomatoes and fresh pomegranate seeds, but failed to point out these would be mushed together into a warm paste. Served with slices of naan, it was, however, delicious.

My friend went for ashe reshteh, described as a thick Persian vegetable, grains and noodle soup. It was exquisite, the flavours, fresh and bright, while being warm and satisfying on a cold evening.

Zereshk polo was my main dish. Marinated chicken served on a mountain of rice, sprinkled with forest berries and pistachio nuts, with a small jug of gravy. The mixture of flavours was once again impressive and the serving of rice alone was enough for at least two. The chicken was flavoursome, but not greasy and the fruits added a real kick.

My friend was wrestling with her ghaimeh, a lamb stew with a tomato base, yellow split peas and dried lime.

This, too, was served with enough rice to feed a small family. It was, however, delicious. The lamb had been slow-cooked to the point of melting and the base, although thick, was once again kept light and fresh with spices and lime.

I cannot understand why this restaurant, which offers a real alternative to diners, as well as tried and tested steak and English puddings, at a fair price with huge servings, was not more full.

If your tastebuds are tiring of the more obvious choices from local menus, I heartily recommend you give them a treat and visit the friendly Golzar for a taste of Persia.


Kashk Bodemjoon: Fried aubergine baked with cherry tomatoes and pomegranate seeds £4.75
Ashe Reshteh: Thick Persian vegetable, grains and noodle soup £4.25
Zereshk Polo: Rice dish with marinated chicken, forest berries & pistachio nuts £10.50
Ghaimeh: Lamb stew with a tomato base and yellow split peas and dried lime with rice £8.75
Naan bread £3

THE VERDICT (Ouf of Five)

Atmosphere  3
Food 4
Decor 3
Value 5
Service 5

Disabled access? Yes