78 Northcote Road, Clapham, SW11 6QL
Price: £40 pp
If you have not decided yet how to stimulate your taste buds at the end of this weekend, here is a good suggestion to try something new. When Jan restaurant introduces “Caspian flavours”, this indicates a very interesting and eclectic mix of ingredients from mainly Turkey and Iran. And it is definitely a powerful combination.
“Eclectic” is probably the most appropriate adjective to describe the place. With elegant Persian-looking tiles, portraits of Turkish heroes hanging on the walls, a wine bar and sometimes-questionable Western music, the restaurant is a very pleasant gateway between the East and the West. A little Constantinople in Clapham.
Our beautiful dinner table with Harissa steak, Lamb on Lamb and roasted aubergine
Food was absolutely delicious. We had a delicate hummus with an addition of courgettes and tahini; a tender and peppery harissa steak, and an exquisite plate of lamb chops and lamb shoulder, glazed with a pomegranate and balsamic molasses (pomegranate being one of the most successful ingredient of Persian cuisine). But what will make you – and half of the population of Clapham – come back to Jan are its chicken wings. “Really?” you would ask. Yes, trust me, chicken wings. But being these “Caspian” chicken wings, they come glazed with pomegranate, sumac and zereshk. What does this all mean? Pomegranate is obviously sweet, but sumac – a Persian dried fruit – is slightly bitter, while zereshk (barberries) go definitely toward the zingy – almost acrid – side. The result is a surprisingly convincing sweet and sour combination that you will not forget. Indulge!
If you want, you can indulge in refined desserts as well. We tried a lemon cake with rosemary pears and pistachios. Yes, it works beautifully. And an inexcusable dessert of doughnut twists to dip in a chocolate sauce infused with cardamom and rose water. Oh. My. God.
Even if you are not entirely up for dinner, sit at the bar, have a robust glass of good red wine and have those chicken wings. Soooo worth it! Behold the indulgence of the Caspian Sea!