Kfar Saba houses authentic Persian couisine for over 20 years

I am Parsi (Persian),” says Yisrael with a smile, “but I like to give generous portions.”

The taste of Persia (photo credit: ALEXANDER SHNEIDER)
The taste of Persia
(photo credit: ALEXANDER SHNEIDER)
For a taste of authentic Persian food you have to trek out to Kfar Saba where Yisrael Nulyan, together with his 82-year-old mother, has been producing ethnic Iranian dishes for more than 20 years.
The restaurant is closed for the moment, but it’s still possible to buy takeaway, of which there is a large variety. A customer was being served while we waited our turn. She was buying dinner for five and left the store with a huge amount of food that cost NIS 490.
“I am Parsi (Persian),” says Yisrael with a smile, “but I like to give generous portions.”
He was referring to the totally unjustified stereotype that “Parsim” are mean, something I have always found to be inaccurate.
Yisrael proceeded to fill containers with all the food he wanted us to taste. We left the store with so much food that some had to be frozen for future use. He included several vegan options for us to try.
We started our Persian meal with Gondi, the famous chicken soup garnished with what look like large kneidlach (dumplings) but which are, in fact, made from ground chicken breast and chick pea flour. The soup was very rich and meaty, and the Gondi were delicious and made the dish almost a meal in itself. A few whole chick peas were added as a garnish.
Next up was another classic dish, Horesh Sabzi, which is made from chunks of beef or lamb (beef in this case) cooked with haricot beans and many different herbs. These include fenugreek, coriander and chives, and a rather pungent note produced by the addition of lime. The long, slow cooking brought out all the different strong and savory flavors.
There were several kinds of beef rissoles, some made with the addition of roasted eggplant, and others, much sweeter, with honey and pomegranates. All were made with pure ground beef and I could not detect any fillers.
We tried two kinds of rice: plain white but with a crusty topping, and rice mixed with lentils for a healthy majadra.
Yisrael also insisted we try the home-made sausages. We expected them to be very spicy but in fact they were quite mild and tasted of sweet paprika. Again, they appeared to be made almost entirely with meat.
Of the vegan options we got to try the dolmas, stuffed vine-leaves with dried fruit, which were sweet and succulent. And the vegan rissoles, made from a variety of vegetables including lentils and corn, were tasty without being over-spiced.
Finally, he offered us some home-smoked beef which was also very good – tender and chewy with a great smoky flavor.
Gohar is not really into desserts but offers Geveret Tapuach, (“Mrs. Apple”) for anyone requiring a sweet finale. There was none ready when I was there, but he did give me the recipe. It’s a baked apple stuffed with dried fruit and nuts and flavored with cinnamon.
A complete and generously portioned meal for two, with a starter and three main courses, costs NIS 139. A meal for four, with a starter and four main dishes, runs NIS 250. Gohar will deliver to anywhere by taxi and the customer is charged for the fare. It’s definitely worth the investment.
Kashrut: Rabbanut Kfar Saba
HaTa’as Street 26, Kfar Saba
Phone: (09) 766-4533
Sun.-Thurs: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.