Transport yourself to another world at Kuch, writes Sammy Milton
There is little that offers comfort in January. You have to return to work, everyone’s short of cash and the weather is, as always, terrible. One thing, though, that never fails is the promise of good food. And whilst Kuch is a quaint, neighbourhood joint, that is something we were quite sure of before we even set foot inside the doors.
Even on a wet and windy Wednesday evening, it was incredibly busy inside. Everything from the exquisite tiling on the floors and walls to the huge open mezze bar at the front of the restaurant, full of bowls brimming with olives, dips, sweet treats and more, gives you an other-worldy sense as you settle in. Couples and friends alike sat chatting around tables, plates piled high with colourful, exciting dishes. Instantly we knew we were in for something special.
The manager, Ghullam, was the most gracious host. Welcoming us at the door with a huge smile, he led us to a table towards the back of the restaurant. Menus were presented and drinks poured – we were already enjoying ourselves. The menu itself was most impressive. A list of starters that included exotic-sounding dips with homemade breads all seemed most enticing, whilst the mains featured a larger list of ‘chef’s favourite dishes’, a sneak-peak at traditional southern Persian cuisine.
To kick-off, we went with a couple of the small plates and dips to start. Kash_k Bazanjon and Adass (I didn’t even attempt to pronounce this) came first, served with a huge plate of the homemade barbari bread. A dish full of an innocuous green purée made of smoked aubergine, green lentil, walnut, whey, crisp-fried onions and garlic topped with sweet mint was zingy and refreshing, bursting on your tongue with the eccentric mix of flavours. The slightly sweet sesame bread provided the perfect base to pile it onto. To accompany this, we went with a plate of char-grilled halloumi, served up with salad and fig chutney.
The cheese was grilled perfectly with a fine crust, the saltiness working excellently with the sweetness of the chutney. We kept all of the dips on the side to come back to throughout the meal, that’s how much we enjoyed them.
Mains were fantastic. It was so difficult to choose – each description was intricate and inviting, and with a huge vegan and vegetarian selection on show, the care and consideration they have taken for all of their diners was apparent. Eventually, we settled on one of the chef’s favourites, dizzi, and a portion of the hand-pulled lamb shoulder.
The dizzi was described as the ‘most humble’ of Persian soul food, and comprised a huge platter laden with a clay pot full of slow-cooked lamb, a dish of pickles, beans, tomatoes, potatoes and a smattering of fresh herbs. Humble and comforting it most certainly was – the broth was rich and flavoursome, the meat tender and the pickles a most welcome acidic addition. The lamb shoulder was more of that tender meat, laid on a bed of homemade hummus and spicy harissa and covered in dill, broad beans and rice. Cooked to complete perfection, the dish as a whole was one of my most favourite things I’ve eaten in a long time.
Due to the generous (but not overly so) portion sizes, we declined dessert, but would definitely come back for a slice of baghlava and a pot of fresh mint tea.
Everything about Kuch is just so, so good. So if you’re looking for excellent value for money, unbeatable service and a meal that will transport you to warmer, more exotic climes, then make sure you pay them a visit.
133 Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2PL
0117 253 0300