Kebab Surra, 241 Barkly Street, Footscray. Phone: 0432 064 280
Meet Maria, Mohammad and Ali, the fine folks who have brought Persian food to Footscray.
Having watched with excitement the development and fit-out of their Barkly Street shop, after I was tipped to the news by CTS pal Juz, I jumped – once I laid eyes on the menu – to what came to seem like a wrong conclusion.
“Afghani,” thought I, seeing as there were so many similarities with a much-loved Sunshine joint of the Afghanistan persuasion.
But then the signage went up and … Persian it is!
Of course, it’s somewhat immaterial … our table of three erases our ignorance while awaiting our lunch by ascertaining that, in geographical terms at least, what was once Persia is very much today’s Iran and Afghanistan.
Whichever way you slice it, this is very good news for the neighbourhood … we three enjoy our lunch and vow to work our way through the menu on subsequent visits.
Special kebab surra ($14.90) has superb meat. The minced lamb skewers are both juicy and a little crunchy thanks to diced onion. The chicken is succulent and very tasty.
(The cubed lamb that would normally also come with this dish is not ready on the day we visit …)
The freshly made bread that accompanies all our dishes is classic flatbread, warm and chewy.
Our salads are fresh and nice enough, although I would prefer to go without the sliced black olives. The strong flavour seems wrong somehow.
Ghormeh sabzi ($13.99) is a big hit with all of us – it really is lovely.
It looks like an Indian saag/spinach dish.
But it tastes very different. There’s lamb, yes, but the key here is the use of dried limes, which give the gravy a wonderful yet low-key citrus feel.
There’s red beans in there, too, adding to the textural mix.
The lamb shank that comes with my baghali polo ($14.99) is much meatier than appears may be the case, and the meat itself has that pungent lambness that I covet but not everyone does!
I’ve never had rice such as this before … it’s very mild. It is heavily flecked with dill yet there is just the merest whisper of dill flavour. And throughout there are broad beans, which help make for a different kind of texture and feel.