A nation’s culture is reflected in its food – after all, it’s what they do three times a day, everyday, and in a land so great in area and talent as Iran, you are guaranteed to experience a delicious and diverse food culture.
The amazing history of interaction and influence between East and West means they take the best of Turkish, Caucasian, Levantine, Greek and Central Asian cuisines, and create unique dishes that manifest those flavours.
As we entered Parisa at Al Messila, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, I was filled with memories of wonderful short holidays in Iran. I recalled the beautiful desert scenery and snow-capped hills surrounding Shiraz; thence to the absolutely entrancing Isfahan where the wonders of Iranian culture really hit you: the energy and creativity of its people, the great history (think Xerxes and Persepolis!) and the diversity of its art that manifests itself in architecture, painting, weaving, pottery, calligraphy, music, metalworking and sculpture – with practitioners of both genders –stretching back hundreds, even thousands, of years.
Now, I ask myself, if a nation can inspire such fond memories what can I expect from their cuisine?
That’s what Chef Moghadam answered for me at Parisa, the elegant restaurant in the exquisite Al Messila Resort & Spa, located on the edge of Doha Expressway like a modern (and upmarket!) version of the Persian Caravanserai welcoming travellers on the famed Silk Road connecting China with the Middle East.
Romantic, Angelic Parisa
‘Parisa’ is a romantic, angelic name often given to a newly-born girl; down at ground level, in Al Messila Resort you will experience the vibrant tastes, textures and colours created by experts from our bountiful earth. Think Mediterranean Diet as a base, then add fruits (raisins, pomegranate), spices (saffron, mint, garlic, cardamom), nuts (pistachio, walnut), not forgetting the smoothest and creamiest yoghurt and labnah that you will ever taste.
Start with salad or soup, here at Parisa enhanced with colourful and creamy ‘mast’ yoghurt, always with added aromatic attraction and visual verve and all perfectly tasty in their own right.
If you’re trying to reduce your meat consumption, be prepared for the gravest temptation from angelic Parisa who will offer you the most mouth-watering mouthfuls; time was never too long to marinate, no spices were spared to bring out the most succulent satisfaction, whether with olive oil, saffron, lemon, lime, labnah, yoghurt, chilli, onion or pepper.
And it does not conclude there, as carnivores meet the experts in kebabs and appreciate the painstaking preparation of your tender beef, chicken or lamb by the masters of marination and infusion.
Ideal accompaniment is the finest rice you can eat, the best-steamed basmati with pure Iranian saffron.
Finish with frozen vermicelli, or Fereni, a glorious blend of rice flour, fresh milk, pistachio, cinnamon and rosewater; for some, a fitting climax will be Parisa’s home-made ice cream infused with just two souvenirs of Iran’s contributions to our gastronomic happiness – pistachio and saffron.
Author: Terry Sutcliffe
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