Sunday, 19 April 2009

11. Noor

67 Cricklewood Broadway
020 8830 6688

Gourmand writes: For some inexplicable reason, I once took a date to Noor. For reasons I wouldn't dream of going into on this public forum, it ended badly. My second visit to Noor - cue nasty flashbacks - ended even more disastrously, but at least on this occasion I didn't have a tablemate I wanted to kiss.

"Gormless," I said, pointing conspiratorially at the menu. "They charge for bread." I tutted loudly. Persia Restaurant doesn't charge for bread. But my tuts were premature because the bread, cooked from scratch in a clay oven by the window, is absolutely wonderful. We used it to mop up a faultless kashk o-bademjan (mashed aubergine with curdled milk) and a great borani (spinach and yoghurt).

The main courses were even better. The chelo lamb kebab melted in the mouth and the chelo khoresht fesenjan was even better, a stew with chopped walnuts, pomegranate sauce, chicken and saffron rice. It was, I asserted, the best food we'd had on the Broadway. But there was absolutely no atmosphere to speak of inside its exposed brickwork walls. The service was a bit grumpy, too.

The meal ended with a black bug, about an inch-and-a-half long, jumping onto my head, then onto my shoulder, and then crawling down my back. I can't rule out the possibility Gormless bought it from a Socialist Worker at the G20 protests and threw it on my head as payback for my spectacular April fool, in which I said I was quitting Gullets. There may have been some other perfectly logical explanation, but the black bug took the gloss off an otherwise excellent performance.

Gormless writes: I am assured by some of my anarchist friends that this week's G20 protests represented "a significant reversal of unilateral dictats, issued arbitarily by our capitalist overlords". On April Fool's Day my personal representative of the "system", Gourmand, cruelly joked that he was going to remove one of the few joys that brings light to my browbeaten days: this blog. I fell for it, to his great mirth, and confirmed him in his low opinion of the working man: a gullible beast, fit only for contempt. Little did he know that I had payback plans, a stunt rich in symbolism, one that asked "who is the real parasite here?"

I put it into action at Noor on Friday night. Of course, the food is what you are interested in and I can report that it is good. Indeed, I would say Noor is up there with Abyssinia in producing tasty and diverting dishes. The chicken stew was far from the dish I make under this name; it was much more like a curry. The lamb kebabs were perfectly cooked and the rice plentiful and light. The bread was cooked in front of us and was well worth the pound or so it cost. The interior brick work reminded me of the inelegant murals in my childhood swimming pool.

Although low on customers, atmosphere and engaging staff, it was an enjoyable meal...although the best was still to come! As the meal came to an end I released a bug Wazzo sourced from the ditch round the back of his house, by the shops. It climbed up Gourmand's jumper and caused him discomfort comparable to that expereinced by the working man under the hegemonic parasitism of him and his class. Forget the G20 or the RBD: classy Noor saw real class war.

Overall score: 14/20
Noor will be bugged - ha! - they're not competing near the top of the table