Darvish Persian Restaurant, Leeds: Vegan options
Whilst Darvish Persian restaurant in Harehills, Leeds is definitely a place for meat eaters, its small but delicious range of great value vegan options and friendly atmosphere means that I’m a regular visitor.
Darvish’s Iranian cuisine has even attracted celebrity visitors as in 2011 the restaurant featured in Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain TV programme (watch the segment here), and a photo of the cheeky chappie himself now takes pride of place in their front window.
The interior of the restaurant is attractive, with traditional Persian paintings, ornaments and hangings adorning the walls. The kitchen is open with the bread oven at one end, so you can watch the very amiable proprietor as he prepares the flatbreads.
The flatbreads are delicious – freshly cooked, thin, light and nicely crispy in places, they are the perfect accompaniment to the dippable vegan starters and mains on offer. They are called naans on the menu but the bread is different to the kind of naan most people in this country are familiar with, which is likely to be the thicker and heavier breads we generally eat with South Asian curries.
As a starter we had Kashke Bademjan, a dish made from fried aubergines, walnuts, fried onions, garlic and spices and which was very quickly mopped up with the big flatbread. Kashke Bademjan usually comes with a dribble of sauce made from yoghurt over the top, so be sure to request it without the yoghurt when ordering (they should now be used to this request after the number of times we’ve made it.)
We also had stuffed vine leaves, which are filled with rice, tarragon, split peas and fresh herbs. There’s a meat version of this dish with lamb in it, so you’ll obviously have to make sure the staff know you want the ‘vegetarian’ (vegan) option. The stuffed vine leaves are really tasty with a nice vinegary sharpness, which goes well with the subtle flavours of the Kashke Bademjan.
For the main dish we each had a bowl of Chello khoresht Ghaymeh, which is made from mushrooms, split yellow peas and dried lime and comes with either a naan or saffron rice (we had the rice and greedily ordered an extra naan). The dish is garnished with what looks like crisps, which is a little odd at first sight, but the crunchiness actually goes well with the meal.
The Chello khoresht Ghaymeh is absolutely delicious, so much so that I’ve ordered it nearly every time I’ve been to Darvish. It has a very rich flavour and the split yellow peas give the dish a nice, smooth texture.
It’s quite a heavy dish and after having eaten one each, as well as two starters, two naans and two rices, we were absolutely stuffed. The food is such good value however that our bill came to less than a tenner each – a bargain at only £19.50 for everything!
Authentic, good value and delicious, Darvish is well worth a visit.
283 Roundhay Road,
Leeds, LS8 4HS
0113 249 5500