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Afghan Kitchen

Afghan Kitchen, to me, is a rather unusual sort of eatery. Tiny as it is and with prepared food well stacked in the glass display fridge, it reminds me of, say, a good sandwich cafe, not quite a restaurant. To add to this, there were multitudes of punters coming in to grab their meal and go. My other bib and I, seated in one of the tables on the ground floor, couldn’t help feeling we were the appendix to this minimalist takeaway scene.

The drinks, called Dogh, tasted sour and salted. They were, basically, yoghurt diluted with cold water, mixed with shredded cucumber and dried mint. Really bizarre…

The meat dishes fared better, which explained why people walked in for their takeaway dinner. Lavand-e-Murgh, chicken pieces in yoghurt, was pleasant. The flavour was straightforward but pleasant. That is, yoghurt plus chicken. There was not much seasoning or herbal and spice infusion going on. The lamb dish, Qurma Subzi Gosht, was a stronger dish. The tender chunks of lamb were stewed with spinach, and if my taste bud wasn’t wrong, with a touch of yoghurt. This seemed a variation of Indian Korma but with less spice. The better thing was that the portion of these two dishes were relatively big. One with a bowl of rice or some bread would have been more than enough for a meal. I got a bit worried as there were two more dishes to arrive!

The vegetable dishes. I ordered Banjon Borani – aubergines with yoghurt – and Borani Kado – pumpkin with yoghurt. Massive dishes of stewed aubergines and chunky pumpkins toppled with yoghurt and chilli oil. I found the combination interesting. Both dishes were half way between a stew and a salad. But, I’m afraid, as far as my preference goes, I liked neither of them. The sour and milky yoghurty flavour hit first but it was quickly followed by the aggressive heat of the chilli oil. The vegetables that had long been cooked lost their natural flavour in the process. There was not much of texture going on either. Just soft and mellow…

That said, I think this has more to do with the cuisine type than the restaurant’s cooking.

And I finished the meal with some Baghlava. Soggy, way too soggy.

 

I probably ruled myself out of Afghan cuisine based on my experience at Afghan Kitchen. I did not find the food mind-boggling, which I always did when I came across something new for the first time. To me, Afghan dishes weren’t too dissimilar to Indian. I prefer the latter because the flavours leap out. The meal itself was good and good value but if I had to pay service charge for a sandwich-cafe-looking eatery, I’d rather get a takeaway.

 

Enough said,

My head rating says, “7 out of 10″.

My heart rating says, “4 out of 10″.

AFGHAN KITCHEN

35 Islington Green
Islington
N1 8DU

Tel. 020 7359 8019

Afghan Kitchen on Urbanspoon

7 Comments

  1. It is more that Indian cuisine has been influenced by Persian not the other way around, but there is much to Persian cuisine that is not similar to what you find in India.

    I have recently been enjoying a book called Sarabah which is teaching me more about Persian / Iranian cuisine and have tried a couple of marvellous recipes from it. I also want to visit some more Persian restaurants, and am trying to get recommendations from Persian friends and acquaintances, for places that do more than a boring chello kebab!

    • Hi Kavey,

      Thank you for sharing. I’m quite clueless when it comes to cuisines from this part of the world and keen to find out more! Is there any good Persian/ Iranian place you’ve come across recently? There are some great Lebanese places I usually go to for “kebab” but I don’t think they contribute much to my good learning. Will definitely check Sarabah out one day when I manage to finish my compulsory reading list >_<

  2. hi. i agree. afghan kitchen doesn’t match real afghan food. i hear there is a place out in hendon. this is what it should be like http://comeconella.blogspot.com/2010/12/kabul-restaurant.html

    for iranian/persian food try the following:
    behesht is excellent but a bit of a trek if you are in central.
    next best options are gilak and colbeh.
    http://comeconella.blogspot.com/2009/09/iranian-at-behesht.html
    http://comeconella.blogspot.com/2009/05/colbeh.html
    i will be reviewing gilak shortly….

    • You’ve spoiled me with choices!! Thank you for these tipoffs. At the moment, I’m acquainting myself with Middle Eastern and Central Asian cuisines. I find them too underrated in many food blogs.

      PS I like your blog. V informative :)

  3. thanks skinny bib! what middle eastern and central asian places are you trying. i love middle eastern food. a friend of mine from the uae recently told me about a place in wimbledon that he says is the closest thing to home.

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