Food Mood: Sufi, B'lore

Sometimes, good things are right in front of you but you never tend to notice them. Sufi, in Koramangala is one such place. Having spent many really late inebriated Saturday nights chomping down kababs at the Empire restaurant, I’ve never noticed Sufi which is located in the very same premises. But I am glad that I know of the place now.

For the uninitiated, Sufi predominantly offers a Persian spread (or Iranian spread if you want to be more specific). There are Indian dishes on the menu, but why would you go to a Persian restaurant to have Indian food?  We started the evening with a glass of Doogh. This is a cold carbonated drink made out of yogurt. While it is quite refreshing, it is also rather filling. One can easily get tempted to have another glass. However, experience has taught me to stop at one and try out a more items from the menu. 

For food, we started the evening with a hulk-sized Persian naan. One was enough for three people to share. Accompanying the naan was a Kashk-o-Bademjaan. This dish was a tastier cousin of our very own baingan bharta. Cooked in a mild spicy gravy and garnished with a sauce, mint and roasted garlic, the eggplant (or ‘aubergine’ if you’re fancy) comes out in a nice paste with a texture similar to hummus. While I do not enjoy eggplant at all owing to the taste, this variant was not bad at all. The otherwise dominating taste of eggplant was muted which is a big plus point in my mind. While I may skip this the next time for something new, it was comforting to know that eggplant can be made into quite tasty dishes as well.

Persian Naan

Next up were two kabab appetizers. The first was the Kabab-e-Makhsoos. I’ve really got to hand it to the chef on this one. This was a skewer of tender boneless marinated chicken with a skewer of minced mutton on top. This was topped by a layer of onion and capsicum and grilled. The juices from the vegetables and the meats fused together perfectly to make this one fabulous tasting dish. This is my recommendation to anyone who goes there. This is a rather heavy dish, so do take reinforcements with you to help. 

We also tried the Joojeh-Kabab-e-Halazooni Makhsoos . Not to be confused with the previous dish, this consists of eight pieces of tender boneless chicken marinated with spices, filled with zereshk (a berry native to Iran) and garnished with vegetables. It did seem to have a slight dominating taste of saffron. While a good preparation on its own, I was already in love with the previous dish. 

Joojeh Kabab-e-Halazooni Makhsoos
For the main course, we had the Khoresht-e-Ghormeh Sabzi with Chelo. Cooked in a tomato gravy base, this dish consists of lamb pieces with kidney beans (raajma), vegetables and sun-dried lemon. The first thing that will hit your taste buds is the overwhelming citrus taste of the sun-dried lemon. The lemon mutes out a lot of the flavour of the meat and tends to linger on for quite a bit. Since I’m accustomed dishes with a dominating taste of lemon, I did enjoy this. However, I know of a few friends who would not appreciate the taste. It’s completely your choice to try this one. Most Iranian dishes are generally accompanied with either rice or a naan. 

Khoresht-e-Ghormeh Sabzi with Chelo

Chelo (Rice)
We closed the meal with Ranginak. Folks who don’t have much of a sweet tooth or diabetes are requested to stay away from this dish because it is one intensive sugar-rush. Dressed with dates and walnuts, the dish is made of finely roasted maida with sugar in pure ghee. Having cut down sugar from my diet over the last many years, this dessert hit me almost instantly making me quite giddy. Sweet lovers will relish this dish for sure.

I really enjoyed every dish we ordered but beating them all was the Joojeh Kabab-e-Halazooni Makhsoos. I am going back just to have an entire plate of that all to myself. (Joey doesn’t share food). The ambience of the restaurant is excellent with a lot of hard work going into making it feel truly Persian. From what I know, a lot of the older patrons stopped coming after the restaurant relocated to the new location in Koramangala. The ban on hookahs cut out a significant part of the Persian experience. The restaurant is popular among a lot of the Iranian expatriate crowd. The menu seems highly skewed to suit non-vegetarians so please don’t yell at me on the blog if you didn’t find anything veg to your liking. Service is on the slower side but that’s because the dishes take time to prepare. I definitely recommend you try this place out for a very different dining experience from all the usual cuisines one is used to.