Thursday, 23 September 2010

Restaurant Review: Donya

Living by a few hundred Turkish restaurants and having done a lot of research into burgers recently means that I have been eating a lot of meat, too much meat in fact.  Mainly I've been eating too much grilled meat with not too much added, certainly not vegetables.  So, much as I love all that kind of thing, I was feeling like something a bit different, something fresh and zingy.  My friend Tom and I therefore decided on a Burmese restaurant at the top of Edgeware Road so that I, having liked it before, could review it and have a lot of heavily spiced tangy South East Asian food and so he could say things like; 'this was much better when I had it in Burma' or 'oh no no no that's not how that comes in Rangoon', etc.  Sadly being Sunday night, it was closed.  Panic briefly ensued, until Tom pointed out to me and another friend that their was an Iraqi/Kurdish restaurant next door at number 436.  Good, lots of meat it is then.
I am certainly not going to claim any particular expertise on Iraqi food, but in brief it seemed to follow the lines of Middle Eastern food you'll be familiar with - houmous, babaganoush, fallafal, etc - and some influences from further East such as biriyannis and naans.  And that's where I'm going to start.  These naan's were really something special.  They were exceptionally light, with none of the doughiness you sometimes find, and had a fantastically thin crispy base where the bread had been in contact with the cooking surface.  We had this with an excellent babaganoush, which was wonderfully smoky.  So far so good.  We also got three bowls of very good lentil soup, made with split peas and a bit of lamb stock which was good comfort food.  This came on the house I assume because this place is fairly new and they're trying to build themselves a good reputation.  They also brought out some salad and tea to finish on the house.  The service was also quick and friendly so good work on their reputation, definitely a pleasant place to go.

So on to the main event, which as I have said is meat, lots of it.  Two of us took slow cooked lamb with torn naan in a tomato sauce.  The sauce was good, but I probably would have just like a bread on the side as it lost its nice crispiness in the sauce.  The meat itself was excellent slow cooked, young tasting lamb that fell off the bone.  Tom took a lamb shank with rice and three bowls of vegetable sauces, again fantastic soft fall of the bone meat, great bread on the side.

So this is not flash cooking, the dishes are not ones that will amaze you.  But what is provided is simple, large portions of very good comfort food at a fantastic price (£11 each).

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