27 April 2011

Iran: Mahdi Restaurant

Madhi restaurant has always caught my eye whenever I've been driving home along Finchley Road but it's only recently I had the chance to dine here. Less than a minute's walk from Finchley Road tube station, it's situated on a side street, a stand-out with its kaledoscopic window panes. I have to say, the outside of the restaurant is gloriously inviting but also gives the impression it's a small, cosy restaurant that's dimly lit.

Step inside and you couldn't be further from the truth. It's bright and spacious, with grand chandliers and transparent plastic table covers, which sends me back to the 80s and quite frankly, should have stayed there. It's the only ugly thing about Mahdi and you wonder why the owners have chosen such tacky table covers. Keeping the tables bare would have been much better, and a better contrast with the white decor. Lucky the food on the menu keeps your mind off the table covers...

For an Iranian restaurant, you can guess what's on offer - barbecued meat with rice and naan bread, of which the latter is baked within earshot of diners. It's something Iranian restaurants like to do and the sight and smell of freshly naan bread coming hot out of the stone ovens is divine. We toddled along on a week day so it was very quiet but I imagine this place is heaving on a Friday and Saturday night.

I was going to opt for two skewers of minced baby lamb with rice or naan bread (for a stupendous £6.90) but was coerced into settling for Mixed Grill of Baby Lamb and Chicken Kebab Skewers garnished with grilled whole tomatoes and lemon wedges for two people, served with a generous plate of rice each (£22.90). We didn't order any starters because we knew Persian food is served in generous portions.

The mixed grill was brought to our table in an awesome platter and I did wonder if we'd be able to finish it. It comprised of two skewers of minced baby lamb, one skewer of chicken fillet and one tender baby lamb fillet. I absolutely adore the rice they serve in Iranian restaurants - plain white with a dash of yellow colouring in the middle that tastes delightful and compliments the meat perfectly and at Mahdi, the plates of rice are huge. As I write this review, I can almost taste the rice in my mouth.

Towards the end of our meal, we were stuffed and I'm ashamed to say, there was quite enough meat left over as well as a plate of rice. I think the restaurant owners are used to this for they very happily packed up the left-overs for us to take home. The lady at the table next to us also requested for her chicken fillets to be wrapped up. When the food is that delicious, are you really going to want it to be thrown away?

A fantastic gem in the neighbourhood of North West London that's great for couples and large groups and offers immense value for divine Persian cuisine. There is also a Mahdi restaurant in Hammersmith.

2 Canfield Gardens, West Hampstead, London NW6 3BS
Telephone: 07951 073 371
Opening hours:
Tube: Finchley Road (Jubilee/Metropolitan)
Bus: 113
Car: Metered parking

View Around the World in London Restaurants in a larger map


  1. It is! I am craving to go again.

  2. It's so good, I'm having my daughter's 1st birthday party there soon!



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