Holiday eating goals always include stumbling across the places the locals eat like Mithra. Finding the most authentic foods of the area and not being fed hybrid foods for the tourists!

So when invited by an Iranian friend, to try Persian restaurant Mithra I was very keen! Starters, small plates, stews, braises and skewers make up the menu; Skewers cooked on the grill (which was imported from Iran) requires flames to be fanned! This definitely adds a great flavour to the food. Dishes are clearly explained with a detailed description and vegan and vegetarian options are well indicated too.

Baked aubergine dip (Kashke bademjan)

The Persian curd cheese with walnuts and flatbread (Paneer sabzee) instantly grabbed my attention. A sharing plate for 2 this dish is as pretty as a picture. Dressed with bunches of mint, dill and parsley, radishes, tomato and cucumber. Tearing off pieces of the soft, light flatbread, you add nuts, cheese and herbs to make every bite different! And it was delicious! The curd cheese has a very mild flavour but elevated by the embellishments and a great way to start an evening.

Alongside this, we tried an amazing aubergine dip (Kashke bademjan) which is similar to baba ganoush but so much better! Baked and blended with herbs, spices and garlic to give a creamy, rich decadent finish. Topped with fried onions, walnuts and whey; I would have been quite happy with a bowl of this and a few flatbreads!

I was keen to try something from the grill which is very popular with their Iranian guests! Momtaz, a minced lamb kebab (like a kofta) and tender pieces of chicken breast were a great combination; Served with some exciting garnishes to give the dish a variety of flavours. Gerkins, salad (with a dressing that was a cross between a hollandaise and a vinegarette) and roasted tomatoes.

Chicken and minced lamb kebab (Momtaz)

All the dishes are served with the fluffiest saffron rice you will have ever tasted! Tradition is to mash the tomatoes into the rice and sprinkle sumac spice onto the kebabs. The options to change up each mouthful was numerous and added some extra theatre to the experience!

As the season’s change, I can also see how the stews and braises will be very popular on the menu. Slow cooked dishes with tender meat to offer comfort and full flavour. A firm family favourite is a light but rich beef stew (Ghorme sabzi) which is an unusual blend of fresh herbs, kidney beans and dried lime. (A vegan option is available for this one.)

Added with some Persian pickles to cut the richness (Torshi litteh) and the most delicious thick yoghurt with shallots (Mast-o-musir).  The Iranian way of eating seems to be having the table groaning with many dishes! We were certainly doing our best to achieve this!

Finally, a dish which I enjoyed more than I thought; Lamb shank braised in a rich tomato sauce served with green rice, which came from broad beans and dill.  This was not a combination I had considered before, but I could have eaten a bowl of the smooth, tasty sauce with the green rice; Very moorish.

Slow braised lamb shank (Baghali polo ba mahicheh)

If you are looking for somewhere new to try with some foods that you haven’t eaten before, then I would definitely be heading to Mithra. They are open from noon-10.30pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (booking recommended.) Alternatively, head over for a spontaneous meal any other night of the week from 5 pm.

Mithra means the goddess of light, love and friendship; The relaxed, warm and homely atmosphere Sara and Hossain have created certainly invokes this!  If you are looking for some authentic, homecooked Iranian food I hope you will give them a try…there really is something for everyone!

Thank you to Sara and Hossain for hosting me for dinner in exchange for my thoughts.  All opinions are my own and I hope you will go and find your own favourite dishes!

Check out Mithra online here

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