Vancouver has a sizeable Persian community mainly based on the North Shore (for those not from Vancouver, the North Shore is primarily made up of the cities of West and North Vancouver). Having spent a large part of my life living on the North Shore, I have had some experience with Persian Food. Mainly various types of kebabs and rice. Its always been delicious.
Delara is a new Persian restaurant located on West 4th in the Kitsilano neighborhood. The concept is Persian with a modern touch and hint of French technique. I am always a bit skeptical when I see a restaurant doing a modern anything as most of the times, its not well executed. Mainly because the standard is already so good, and reasonably priced.
The interior is modern and inviting; it was nice to see little details like the beautiful tiles on the bar floor. Here was the menu that evening:
I started with the saffron negroni. The flavor of the saffron came through nicely and I enjoyed the drink overall but wished there was a bit more bitter rather than sweet forward.
We started with the grilled sourdough flatbread and dips. The bread is made in house and grilled but I did not detect the grilled taste. Other than that, the bread was warm, had a good texture and was delicious as were the dips. The only other thing off with this dish was we were told the bread was unlimited, but when we requested more, it never came.
We also had the summer salad. It was a good salad with good acidity but nothing outstanding.
Next the grilled octopus with beans. The beans were delicious. The octopus was good. Not Milos good, but good. The octopus was sous vide then grilled. Again, I could not detect the grilled taste. The texture was tender but did not have char on the outside which would have made it perfect.
For our main dishes we had a mushroom, chickpea, and saffron stew, and bbq chicken kebab. Lets start with the stew. The stew was delicious and the broth had depth to it. The chicken though, I was not a big fan of. It was well cooked, but again, lacked any grilled taste. Also, the standard chicken kebab you can get at most Persian restaurants in the city is so good, its hard to do a modern interpretation of it well. The rice, was something else. IT WAS OUTSTANDING! The crunch on the top, combined with the hint of saffron, and the long perfectly cooked fluffy grains underneath were heaven. They went nicely with the stew.
For dessert, we had a saffron ice cream sandwich. I don’t know if the ice cream was homemade, but it was good and the cookies were made in house – pistachio and cardamom. Overall, the service was fantastic and the food was good with the areas for improvement mentioned above. I don’t know Persian food well enough to say whether or not this is a good modern interpretation of it or not. I discussed with a few friends who are Persian and they will give it a try and let me know.