Bahar is Dubai’s newest Persian-Iranian restaurant. And it very well could turn out to be one of Dubai’s best.
Located on the water-front level of the La Verda Hotel in Dubai Marina, diners enjoy an expansive view of the marina canal. The interior is tastefully decorated in colours of the peacock throne with an abundance of rich turquoise everywhere, and a delightful collection of Persian princesses adorning many of the walls. Brainchild of Mehran Samadpour, whose past exploits include Shabestan and Anar, Bahar was conceived to represent contemporary Persian cuisine. Adding to Bahar’s impressive pedigree, Mehran brought across Master Chef Noroozi from Shabestan. Noroozi brings a treasure chest of experience and authentic recipes to the Bahar kitchen.
Needless to say, the food is wonderful, each dish tweaked just enough to appease the modern pallet while still retaining its traditional roots. Take the Ghalieh Mahi for example; typically, Ghalieh is a pungent, herb infused fish stew from the south of Iran. Bahar’s Ghalieh is an elegant, culinary masterpiece; a pan-fried fillet of white fish basking on a emerald pond of tangy, coriander and fenugreek sauce – a must try. Their Āsh-e Anar, pomegranate soup, is one of the best I have ever had anywhere and the perfect way of starting a meal.
No self-respecting Iranian restaurant would be complete without a range of kebabs, and Bahar doesn’t disappoint. It’s Koobideh is right up there with the best in Dubai. The Shishlik lamb chops are superb; note, unless you actually like your meat cooked well done, make sure you ask for your chops to be prepared medium rare, otherwise the kitchen tends to overcook them to the Iranian well-done preference. Another must try is their amazing Bagheli Polow Mahicheh; long-grain Basmati rice steamed with fragrant, fresh dill and broad beans, and served with slow cooked lamb shank and caramelized onions. Now if that doesn’t get your juices flowing I don’t know what will.
What makes Bahar stand out from other Iranian restaurants however is the concerted effort Mehran has made in creating a completely separate menu for vegetarians. Iranian cuisine in general is quite veggie friendly but Bahar’s menu goes that extra mile. Try their meatless Haleem Bademjan, a timeless classic of fire-grilled eggplant, pealed and mashed with lentils, chickpeas, and then tempered with crispy, browned onions and garlic – OMG! Or the divine spinach omelette, Nargesi. Or their hearty Āsh-e Reshteh; a hugely popular herb and noodle soup which can trace its root back to Zoroastrian Persia where it was known as Shuli.
If Bahar has an Achilles Heel it’s the service, which has yet to catch up with the otherwise high standards Mehran has established at the restaurant. Perhaps we expect too much, too soon. The truth is that Bahar is still in soft-launch mode. They officially launch the restaurant on the 21st of March, the Iranian New Year. Don’t wait. I couldn’t. Why? Because, even in this soft-launch phase, Bahar is already one of the best Persian-Iranian restaurants in Dubai and well, well worth a detour. Bah Bah!