Lunch at Alounak, London

It was both a sad and happy occasion. Hannah was moving out as her project got relocated, which meant that I was losing my roommate, which I was not best pleased about. However, it was Hannah’s sister Tina’s birthday! Hannah’s family always come to this Persian restaurant called Alounak, and since I’ve never had Persian food (and I’d heard so much about this place), I was very excited to check it out.

As soon as you walk in, you see their traditional oven where they make their Taftoon bread. Screw the diet. I was immediately excited for hot, freshly baked bread.

Tina and her boyfriend Simon were all smiles and chatted about this great restaurant they went to the night before for her birthday.

Hannah’s mama was lovely and told me about all the good stuff on the menu and recommended dishes that she thought I’d like. I love how the restaurant was in English and Persian. You know it’s good when locals eat there.

We ordered a mixed plate of dips. There were 4 different ones. One was egg and potato (if you like egg salad sandwiches, you’ll love this). There were two aubergine ones – one was with tomato and onion and the other was smoked aubergine. The last one was a classic hummous.

And of course, we got baskets of freshly baked Taftoon bread. I had to try all the dips, several times, to decide which I liked best. I came to the conclusion that I liked them all and we wiped the plates clean. This required another order of bread, which I was very supportive of.

Our mains quickly came after that. It’s mainly kebabs, which I was so up for. It comes with rice or half rice half salad, which I recommend, as half the rice was already far too much for me, so having all rice would have been ridiculous! The salad was a mix of tomato, cucumber and onion, which was light and refreshing with the kebab. The rice was buttery and delicious.

You can order all different types of kebabs, one or two. There’s chicken and lamb…

I got the two different types of lamb, which was recommended to me, and obviously delicious. I preferred the lamb kofta, but that’s just my personal preference as I find it juicier.

So you can get two of them instead…

Or just one chicken! The chicken was really good too, as Hannah’s mum was struggling to finish hers, or just pretend to be as she thought I was hungry due to the fact that I inhaled my food, so thought she should feed me more!

I was absolutely stuffed. Bread and rice in one meal-time was a lot for me to handle. I never thought I’d say that. I’ve really changed…. I don’t even know who I am anymore.
However, there was no better suggestion than to wash it down with some mint tea.

The tea, extra hot water and sugar came in gorgeous teapots and pots.

And served in little glasses.

My tummy was feeling settled and I was all ready to leave. It has completely slipped my mind that Simon had baked Tina a birthday cake, and the lovely staff brought it out as we all sang happy birthday. Shit. Cake. How am I going to resist this one?

It was a gorgeous cake. I was as full as anything, but it’d be rude not to have a slice. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

I (wo)manned up and gracefully accepted my slice.

It was the most incredible cake. I couldn’t have left a single drop if I tried. Simon had outdone himself, and I have a new found respect for him. I genuinely think the British bake-off is calling his name, and he should answer. Man, I love a guy that can cook! Happy Birthday Tina!

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