Sherman's Food Adventures: Delara


Been wanting to try Delara for quite some time, especially after it achieved Michelin-Recommended status for the first time.  Yes, it has been that long!  However, just like always, other restaurants got into the queue first and I never went.  Leave it up to Costanza to suggest we double-date and try the place out.  We were excited to share a variety of modern Persian plates that boast unique and herbaceous flavours.

The meal started strong with Grilled Sourdough Flatbread with seasonal dips.  The first one was a lentil dip with seeds, mint and date syrup.  This was fairly rich and thick with earthy tones and sweetness.  The second dip was beet & yogurt with date syrup, dill and bee pollen.  I really enjoyed this one as it was super smooth and creamy with sweetness.  About that seedy flatbread...  it was a textural delight with a soft and fluffy texture while nicely browned on the outside.

As if the flatbread and dips weren't good enough, the Roasted Cauliflower & Yogurt was so delicious!  It was served atop served on a bed of spicy yogurt and topped with hazelnut, sumac, sesame seeds and mint.  Loved the firm, yet cooked-through roasted cauliflower that was completely flavoured with the creamy spice of the yogurt and tanginess of the sumac.  Of course we found some nuttiness from the hazelnuts and sesame seeds.

Going for something with meat, we had the Koofteh consisting of 3 beef meatballs with rice, split peas, herbs, walnuts and plums, served with seedy sourdough flatbread.  These were quite pleasant with a meaty, yet not overly dense texture with natural meat flavours accented by the sweetness of the plums and nuttiness of the walnuts.  Loved soaking up the sauce with the flatbread.

Moving onto the mains, we went for the Fesenjoon with Duck.  This featured a slow-cooked duck leg atop a stew of walnut and pomegranate molasses, served with with a side of tahdeeg.  Oh wow, this was a flavour bomb of sweet and tangy (as the menu stated) with caramelization.  The duck leg was tender and fall-off-the-bone with a crispy exterior.  The side of tahdeeg was nutty and crunchy.

Going with another fowl dish, we had the Chicken and Barberries sporting turmeric marinated grilled  chicken breast with roasted vegetables and herbs and a barberry and orange sauce.  Also loved this dish as the chicken was tender and moist while smokey.  The sweet and tangy sauce complimented the chicken well while the roasted brussels sprouts added crunch and brightness.

One of the most surprising dishes was the Saffron & Mushroom Stew consisting of sesame & sunflower seeds, caramelized onions, saffron and preserved lemons.  This was topped with roasted wild mushrooms, pickled grapes and sumac whey sauce.  Although this lacked meat, it didn't lack flavour and impact.  It hit so many different notes such as aromatics from the saffron and mushrooms, nuttiness from the seeds, sweetness from the onions and tanginess from the preserved lemons.  This was all in balance and created a harmonious stew.

Lastly, we had the pistachio & chive crusted Steelhead Trout with Turmeric & Dill. This was served with seasonal vegetables on a bed of preserved lemon, turmeric and dill sauce.  The trout was expertly-prepared being buttery and being barely cooked through.  Yes, that sauce underneath had it all including tang, earthiness, herbaecousness and silkiness.  That pistachio crust on top provided a salty nuttiness.  Also, the side of bulgur and barberries was almost fluffy while still retaining its usual chewiness.  At this point, we were excited to order dessert, but unfortunately, we were told we could not since our time was up and the next reservation was waiting.  Okay, we understood this, but we were never informed of the time limit before we started our meal nor were we informed during our meal.  It did not help that the food came out slowly and that our server (despite being super friendly) did not ask if we wanted our next course.  So that was a sour way to end the meal when we actually wanted to try their highly-recommended sweets.  Overall, the food and service were excellent, yet the communication was lacking.

The Good:
- Excellent food
- Equally good service
- Lovely flavours

The Bad:
- Lack of communication about the dining time and pacing of the meal
- This lead to us not being able to order dessert


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