Nutshell, a new, modern Iranian restaurant will open in Covent Garden this July. Owners Marwa Alkhalaf and Mohammad Paknejad, together with the former head chef of The Palomar, Jeremy Borrow, want to showcase traditional Iranian recipes “with a modern twist.”
Nutshell says one its principal objectives is to “re-create the warm, welcoming atmosphere of home in a contemporary setting and offer a feast for the senses.” The owners have emphasised that “some of the most interesting and unique aspects of Iranian cuisine are found in the homes of Iranians, rather than the bustling restaurants of Tehran.”
Paknejad, who is originally from Tehran, wants to convey Iranian food as “a cuisine beyond the beloved kabab.” The restaurant will serve dishes such as tahdig, the famous rice dish which is served with a crispy, golden, buttery crust alongside hearty stews. Alkhalaf, who has worked as a chef at the Michelin-starred The Greenhouse in Mayfair, says she “fell in love with these dishes immediately.”
One dish, pictured above, which the duo wants to forefront is the joosh pareh, a beef dumpling cooked in a chickpea and sour cherry broth. “It’s our take on the dish that can be found in both East and West and eaten by Turkmans, Armenians, khorasanis and Azaris in Iran,” they say.
Indeed, the menu at Nutshell wants to highlight the nuances of Iranian cooking, “utilising the wealth of flavours and abundance of fragrant herbs that make up such a rich culinary landscape.” Hundreds of years at the heart of the Silk Road trade route have also influenced the nation’s varied, often aromatic, cuisine.
The 86-cover, two-floor restaurant — which explicitly aims to “explore the influence of different ethnic groups on regional cuisine, from Gilakis and Mazanis in the North to Arabs in the South” — will serve a menu of sharing plates with dishes adapted through the seasons. The chosen colour palette is said to be “reminiscent of a pistachio orchard featuring tones of green and pink and earthier tones.”