Now this is how to do a chic but laid-back restaurant and bar. The newest face on Lavender Hill is a welcome addition.
Tarragon Persian Kitchen and Bar is the very epitomy of welcoming, from the large white and peppermint sign to the black canopy overhanging a beautiful outdoor area, cordoned off from the main street by pretty flowers and plants. Then there are those huge windows with neat blinds that allow the sunlight to stream in whilst maintaining an air of privacy. Beautifully done.
Inside, it is equally well put together. The space is quite small but the bold white colourscheme opens it all up, mixed with neat rows of modern light wooden tables and chairs and a simple white stone bar with a couple of high-backed bar stools nestled neatly against it. Sound a little dull to you? In this case, neutrality works and is lifted by a large stone bread oven in the corner in full sight of the restaurant, flashes of foliage and a chandelier above.
Tarragon Persian Kitchen and Bar has a wonderfully laid-back atmosphere that matches the easygoing, sharing nature of the Persian food on offer. Your experience of the place really depends on what you fancy – you can just as easily order a bottle of wine and sit outside in the sun for a few hours whilst indulging on sharer food and nibbles as you can sit down for a full-on evening meal. And whatever you decide to do, the relaxed atmosphere perpetuated by the friendly staff makes for a pleasant dining experience.
The food prices are really good at Tarragon Persian Kitchen and Bar with main courses covering a variety of meat and spice combinations labelled Persian grills and Persian stews. However, if you’re unsure what to order or just want to enjoy some drinks with a few nibbles then it’s a great idea to work your way through the starters and sides menu, which is large and well priced with dishes under £3.
Of course, you have to try their creamy, chunky homemade hummus and at just £2.50 for a generous portion it gets the party started. However, don’t play it too safe and also try the kashk-e-badenjan (£3), made from sauteed augergine, which is given texture thanks to some crushed walnuts. Even if you’re not usually a fan of aubergine, the seasoning is so good it may just change your mind with hits of garlic and mint that come through nicely. Now you’re over your aubergine fears, try the mirza ghasemi (£3) with delicately smoked augergines this time, enlivened by sweet tomatoes, eggs and more garlic (note: this is not for first dates that may end in a kiss!). Finally, if you’re really going to go to town on the homemade bread then try the mast-o-khiyar (£2.50), an incredibly light and fresh yogurt-based dipping sauce made from chopped cucumber and mint mixed with yogurt. It really is like summer in a bowl.
As well as a fantastic range of spirits, there’s a surprisingly good wine list on offer here, well priced with bottles starting at less than £15. The choice isn’t particularly large, with just a handful of reds and as many whites, bolstered by a couple of rose and sparkling options, but the quality of the bottles at the lower end of the price scale is very good. For example, the cheapest white wine (£13) is a Spanish bottle of Abilius Blanco from Galacia and offers a pleasant blend of sauvignon, macabeo and palomino grapes to produce a crisp wine with a pleasant citrus flavour and zesty undertone that works particularly well with the Persian cuisine.
The Last Word
Tarragon Persian Kitchen and Bar is a very well put together bar and restaurant that offers a friendly welcome and tasty Persian food.