Shiraz Authentic Persian Cuisine
At long last...after much anticipation, Singapore's third Persian restaurant (I think that's right...one, two, three, right?) has finally opened (Clarke Quay 3A #01-06, 6334-2282). The place is just about a week old now, and it had a surprisingly good-sized crowd tonight, even when we arrived as late as 9:45 PM. And just like at Shamshiri in West LA, they had the grill sitting behind the window for all to see.
Now, being at Clarke Quay (across from Marrakech and the Tent), these guys were decidedly trying to be more upscale, complete with table linens and chichi square plates. Yet the staff was clearly still undergoing growing pains, as seen not only in the fact that they neglected one of the napkins at our table, but also in that they failed to tell us ahead of time that the kitchen had already run out of bread, and then unapologetically told us afterwards to eat just our se mast yogurt dips straight without it. At least the dips were rather tasty.
And fortunately, that good food trend continued throughout the meal. The lamb kubideh, while not grilled as long as I would prefer it, was nonetheless still very tender and juicy. The dough drink was also a bit richer than the watery type I'm accustomed to, but in a good way. Interestingly, the menu didn't even call it dough, but rather simply "The Traditional Persian Drink." When we asked the waitress if that were dough, she seemed surprised that we knew what we were talking about, and asked, "Wow - did you guys just come back from Iran or something?" (The proprietor displayed a similar degree of astonishment when we asked for raw onions to go with the kubideh, as he mentioned how that was a very Persian thing to do.)
Well, despite the unnecessary chichi-ness and spotty service, I liked the food here just a tad better than at Banoo thanks to a slight edge in richness across everything we ordered. And upon seeing the crowd here tonight, I do worry a bit about Banoo's future. There's still a number of reasons to go back to Banoo though: the food there is still good, and bottles of somagh are already on the table there waiting for you, unlike here. The service is cozier at Banoo, and they are open later too (last order here is 10:30 PM). The prices are also about a third cheaper over at Banoo: Shiraz charged S$28 (US$16.50) for kubideh here (which is not surprising considering the undoubtedly high rent here...plus all those chichi table linen and porcelain expenses they've gotta cover!), versus S$18 (US$10.60) for the "big" koobideh at Banoo). But yeah, the food at Shiraz was something that I'll come back for. Here's to hoping that they both stay in business (Persepolis is now eliminated from the running due to how inconsistent it had gotten).