Month: July 2011

Kateh – Madia Vale/Little Venice

A hidden gem, would be the only way to describe Kateh – mainly because it is actually quite hidden. Tucked away on a quiet tiny street just off the canal in Little Venice and next door to my favourite local pub (The Warwick Castle), it’s barely visible unless you know it’s there.

Kateh promises authentic Persian cuisine and ‘service of the highest standard’ in a ‘warm and relaxed’, and I’m happy to say they delivered on all fronts. Though converted from a typical Madia Vale mansion, the restaurant is tiny – only 75 covers – which unfortunately makes it a bit noisy during the dinner rush. We contributed with the ‘Oohs’ and ‘Aahs’ of delight with our meals.

To start, we were brought ‘Persian Olives’:

Great, meaty ‘grow hair on your chest’ olives, is more like it! Absolutely brilliantly paired with a walnut paste, which was more the consistency of a pesto, and a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds for a bit of zesty sweetness.

My starter was the Koofteh Berenji (£ 5.50):

Definitely my favourite dish of the night. Delicious Persian meat balls with a lovely surprise centre of plums. I’ve never had a meatball that melted in my mouth – It was incredible.

The second starter was Tiger Prawns (£8.50):

Although slightly overcooked, the garlic, peppers and slightly citrus-y sauce made it a winner.

On to the mains, and my only complaint is a lack of variety. Each dish in the ‘meat’ section looked strikingly similar. Generally, a skewer of lamb with rice and only a slight difference in how it was prepared.

Mine was the Chenjeh (£ 11.00):

Amazingly tender, which I always consider a feat when grilled on a skewer considering the size of the pieces. The kitchen clearly had a grasp on cooking times. The marinade, with spices I could quite put my finger on, was a perfect balance of rich salty and sweet. However, the saffron rice, as you can see above, was a bit of a cheat being a quarter saffron and three-quarters regular.

The other main was the Koobideh (£ 8.50):

Anything minced and grilled is bound to be a bit more tough, so I’m definitely glad I went with what I did. Still, the spices were spot on.

Desserts were an absolute delight, particularly the Koolouche Roodbar (£ 5.00):

Continuing with the sweet fruit/rich nut theme I found in my starter, we were presented with a warm date and walnut cookie with homemade cinnamon ice-cream, which I can confidently say is the best dessert I’ve had all year. It’s reason enough to make the journey to Maida Vale .

The Persian Saffron Ice Cream (£ 4.00) was also lovely, though it couldn’t hold a candle to the cookies.

As of the date of this post, Kateh has a 100% score from reviewers on Urbanspoon. It deserves it thoroughly. Go, go now.  (Although I almost don’t want to tell you that for fear of it being too busy for me to get in next time.)

Kateh on Urbanspoon


The Hideaway Bar and Kitchen – Tufnell Park

The Hideaway Bar and Kitchen is one of those local haunts that most people in London (bar those who live in Tufnell Park or around) will have never heard of. Although ‘kitchen’ is in the name, I suspect the ‘bar’ part is a more accurate description. Looks like they’re trying to change that though.

I first heard about the place through my friend Alice who was doing the marketing for them. She suggested I come down for the relaunch of their menu, specifically their locally-acclaimed pizzas.

DQ and I had a table booked for 6:30, which is *slightly early* by London standards, but apparently unheard of at The Hideaway – we were the only people there for about an hour and a half. It’s always slightly disconcerting when your server can hear your every word, especially when they know you’re reviewing.

The menu is limitied, mostly just pizzas with a few nibbles and salads, but considering pizza is what they’re known for, it’s probably best they stick to it! As they say, Jack of all trades, master of none.

We chose to split the Chorizo (£8) and Carni (£9) pizzas:

The crust at The Hideaway is thin, but luckily still manages to pass the ‘droopy’ pizza test. I love that. There’s nothing worse than picking up a piece of pizza only to have all the sloppy toppings slide off.

Both pizzas (despite the amount of pork on them) felt much healthier and fresher than London’s thinner-crusted competitors. The toppings were fresh, but I could have used a bit more on the Chorizo, which seemed a little sparse. Much better was the Carni, which with salami, parma ham, chorizo and pancetta was bursting with savoury goodness.

The verdict…Was it the best pizza place I’ve ever been to? Not quite. It was consistent, service was friendly and it seems like it would be a great place to have a drink and a pizza on a Friday night.  Tufnell Park, Kentish Town and Camden residents should check it out, but for those outside the vicinity, I wouldn’t say it’s one to go out of your way for.

…unless of course you’re a fan of the show Spaced, in which case you can kill two birds with one stone by taking a picture outside the house used as the location of ‘23 Meteor Street’, which is located just a 10 minute walk away. Awesome.

Om Nom London was a guest of The Hideaway through a personal connection to the rstaurant. This connection in no way influenced the review