Tandis offers staples of Iranian cuisine to one of London’s most affluent neighbourhoods, and doesn't demand they break the bank.
Tandis is sleek enough to belong in NW3 without being over the top. Dark wooden furniture abounds, modern chandeliers drip from the ceiling near the entrance and an alcove lined with cushioned black leather creates a cosy, romantic seating place. The main dining area is through an archway at the back, and a scattering of tables outside suggests alfresco dining is possible in warmer weather.
Groups of friends young and old, seemingly locals, start to arrive at around 8pm on a Friday. Couples sit by the windows at the front of the restaurant while the more boisterous congregations are sensibly put at the back.
Salad olivieh, a potato salad with egg, chicken and chopped gherkin has been turned into a Russian salad by adding peas and carrots, which have overtaken the zingy flavour of pickled gherkin making it a little blander than usual. Kashk-e bademjan, a dish of mashed aubergine, olive oil and walnuts is garlicky and at its best when scooped up with the warm seeded flatbread you're provided with.
As with most Iranian restaurants the portions are huge, with the mains being almost big enough for two people to share. Fesenjan, a rich stew of chicken in a walnut and pomegranate sauce combines nutty earthiness with a hint of sweetness; the marinated baby chicken on skewers is lemony and herby. Both these dishes come with mountains of saffron rice. The skewer of chicken breast pieces that forms part of the mixed kebab lacks flavour and requires heaps of salt and citrussy somagh to be poured over it, however the minced lamb skewer fares better, and the naan bread the kebabs are wrapped up in is delicious, having absorbed the juices from the meat.
For dessert, creamy saffron and rose water ice creams with chopped pistachios are presented in large glass cups; the falloodeh, which can only be described as frozen vermicelli with sugar and rosewater is a refreshing end to the meal. As with the mains, the servings are so generous that teeth are chattering by the time pudding is over.
There is a decent selection of wines on offer, however the £12.95 house red – a Sicilian Shiraz no less - is little better than cheap plonk. Doogh, a salty yoghurt drink with mint is also on the menu, as well as Persian tea and Turkish coffee.
The Last Word
At roughly £30 a head for three courses with bread and wine Tandis offers great value for the area. However, while most of the dishes are prepared to a good standard this is not the best Iranian you’ll find in London.