“Did you punch the wall?” asked the waitress, pointing to my knuckle. “No”, I replied, looking at my knuckle, “I suffer from eczema in the winter months. Only on my hands. And only when it gets very cold”. “Oh”, she said, moving swiftly on and commenting on my friend’s bracelet.
The waitress at Ariana II, an Afghan restaurant in Kilburn, does not hold back, but in the most charming way possible. She is lovely. Just don’t be offended if she points out your bleeding knuckles or such like. What’s more, she’s extremely helpful when it comes to getting wine back in a bottle.
…it’s all about the food…
The restaurant itself is not a glamorous place by any stretch of the imagination, but then it’s all about the food, which is amazing in my humble opinion.
To start, we opted for the hummus with flatbread (both were very good) as well as the ‘fried turnover’ filled with mashed potato and garlic and the spinach and cheese samosas. Just in case you don’t already know – I didn’t – ‘fried turnover’ is a sort of stuffed pancake, and it was very tasty. The spinach and cheese samosas weren’t samosas in the Indian sense. In fact, they were a bit like dumplings, but they were very nice indeed, and deep fried: most deep fried things are fine by me.
It slid off the bone with such ease…
For my main course, I went for the lamb shank with rice and I cannot stress enough how unbelievably tender it was. It slid off the bone with such ease, and without me having to put any effort in whatsoever, which was great, because I hate having to fight to get my meat. The rice was both savoury and sweet, and cooked perfectly, with raisins and almonds. My friend went for the chicken kebab, which was also very agreeable, and again well flavoured and well cooked.
The food at Ariana II is appetising, well cooked and reasonably priced (at £14 a head). Granted, it is not the most exciting food I’ve ever eaten, but the succulent lamb is worth a little trip there alone.
3 1/2 Stars
Images courtesy of Ariana II