Gem Hunter Review: Molana, London My first impression was that Molana really knows how to serve tea in style. With popular dining culture moving so quickly into the direction of fast food quick fix eats, it is truly a delight to sip on some Persian tea at a non twenty first century pace. Sitting, sipping tea amongst tasteful rustic décor whilst making the difficult decision on just what to eat makes for a pleasant start to your meal. Deciding what to eat can take surprising amount of time but you will be well entertained in the mean time with subtle rhythmic Middle Eastern music which compliments your surroundings nicely setting the scene for some fine dining. The upside down tea party commencing above the alcohol free bar just seals the deal. Molana like to spoil you with a wide range of hot and cold starters. I selected the Oloviyeh, an interesting mix of chicken, gherkins, eggs potatoes and carrots which thankfully tasted a little better than it looked. I was also fortunate enough to sample some Sabzi O Panir (Walnut Salad) thanks to the generosity of my neighbouring diners, who, judging by the deliciousness of their choice where well informed regulars. I reckon the Sabzi O Panir, which is fittingly number one on the menu was placed there for a good reason. This mouth-watering walnut salad, featuring my favourite feta, mint, basil leaves and of course plenty of walnuts certainly did went down a treat. Walnuts, despite their heavy English association, actually originate in Persia, making this in my humble opinion the signature salad of Iran. With my nutritionist background I’m a big fan of the walnut, not only a good source of protein and slow release energy but a great source of what we call ‘good fats’. Containing seven times more polyunsaturated fats than saturated fat walnuts are especially great source of the essential fatty acids that you ordinarily find in oily fish. Delightful starters aside the main reason I keep coming back is for number twenty nine, the humble Kobeda. It may seem like the safe option but it is one you will not regret. This dish is self explanatory but talking from experience, the meat you are served at Molana’s is of superb quality and absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious every time. What’s more this beautiful meat is accompanied by some very hard to beat freshly baked Naan, a masterpiece which takes only fifteen seconds to bake; challenging the notion that healthy methods of cooking are too time consuming for our day and age. If you are not a fan of meat, the fish is pretty decent too. Whether you’re into sea bass or would prefer to opt for the salmon which provides you with an excellent source of essential fatty acids, Molana will not disappoint. As I have been finding out the hard way, making a habit of dining out can be an awful pinch on the wallet. Molana offers generous size portions at a competitive rate, making it great for those who like to eat lavishly but with a modest price tag. I mean it when I say portions are generous here, so be careful not to overdo it. I am never one to be too shy to take part of my meal home in a little take away box. I am sure Molana staff has witnessed this practice a countless number of times from those like myself do not want to waste an ounce of the deliciousness. As well as tickling my taste buds this particular cuisine pleases the herb lover in me. Various dishes found in eastern cuisine feature my most adored herb: mint. Infamous for its digestive properties, mint is particularly effective in the digestion of meat making it very fitting for a meal here. Molana feature mint in their drink ‘Doogh’ which I would recommend as an accompaniment to your meal. Mint added of tea is also a great home remedy for indigestion, which is more commonplace now than ever before and currently the leading cause for insomnia in the UK. You certainly will not lose sleep over dining at Molana, especially if you make it to dessert. I opted for the Bastani, a pistachio rose tinted ice cream which is light on your stomach yet rich on your taste buds -a perfect ending to the romance that is Molana. With a winning combination of top quality halal meat and alcohol free bar, Molana brings a new dimension to what it means to eat halal. Not only is the food impressive at Molana but also the food practice which permeates right through to Molana’s choice of food preparation. Whether it is a steamed, boiled or grilled the way your meal is prepared here means that the calories you obtain come solely from hearty great quality ingredients. A family friendly restaurant yet a chic junction at the same time Molana attracts all age groups with its warm ambience and hospitable staff. It’s somewhere you can enjoy a meal with all company, from your work colleagues to your Mum. A modern day Persian palace located between West Ealing and Ealing Broadway station, Molana- I am impressed. About Gem Hunter Mehmoona Mehmoona, based in Buckinghamshire UK, is a nutritionist and freelance photographer passionate about nutrition, the arts and food culture. Mehmoona believes that diet is a key element in achieving health and spiritual wellbeing. A firm believer that education is only the beginning of the journey to health, she aims to change our outlook on food.