loti eats | berenjak
London restaurants basically gave up being comfortable long ago. Vintage furniture from a Victorian school; shared tables on old chemistry benches; bare brick walls – Londoners have grown used to forfeiting comfort in favour of exceptional food, of which there has been plenty over the last few years.
Berenjak, a new Iranian kebab restaurant from the JKS group, is typical of this, with walls so distressed they are basically falling part (war-torn chic?) and tables squashed so closely together you can feel the breath of your neighbours. Yes, Berenjak is to comfort what the Supreme Leader is to democracy.
You could argue of course that none of this really matters if the food is on point – and at Berenjak it’s fortunately fantastic. Here you can have kebabs that would happily form the basis of a death row meal, or at the very least eat without much guilt. Best of all is Berenjak’s tribute to the late night kebab shop: thin slices of shawarma on chips covered in garlic and chilli sauce. If your local kebab shop made them like this, you wouldn’t only eat them at 2am after nine pints.
Other highlights include the Chenjeh Kabab, tender chunks of lamb rump marinated in chilli, yoghurt, and tarragon, and the starter of coal-cooked aubergine. The single dessert of a baklava ice cream sandwich is definitely worth getting and it arrives about 10 seconds after ordering it so you don’t need to worry if you’re short on time (turning tables is another modern curse of London restaurants). The only dud dish was the starter of feta, radish and nuts so we’d say to avoid this but everything else is going to have you leaving Berenjak very full and very happy.
27 Romilly St, London W1D 5AL