Darius Sadri talks to us about the delicious, authentic food to be found at Denj in Rathgar, the only fine dining Persian restaurant in Ireland, where the ambiance is cozy, modern and relaxed.
Honest food served with love… That’s the promise of the hospitable folk at family run Denj restaurant which opened its doors in the Dublin 6 suburb of Rathgar at the end of last year. Specialising in fresh, authentic Persian cuisine, the cosy, accommodating newcomer prides itself on being the only fine-dining restaurant in Ireland dedicated to providing a unique culinary insight into the tastes and flavours of Iran.
The expansive menu features many of that ancient country’s most popular dishes, including Ghormeh Sabzi, a much-loved traditional Persian herb stew considered by many to be the national dish of Iran. Made with lamb, red beans and a variety of herbs, owner Darius Sadri tells us that in making it, the culinary team at Denj closely follow the instructions set out in the classic family recipe that has been passed down from mothers to daughters through several generations.
The dish is also part of Denj’s great value early bird menu (€35), which serves as a tasty and informative introduction to the incredible Persian flavours to be found here. The three-course offering features a terrific selection including Denj’s ‘star meal’, Chelo Koobideh, a popular Iranian dish made with minced lamb kebab called koobideh, that comes with rice or naan bread freshly made to order, served piping hot from the oven. A substantial choice of Vegan and Vegetarian offerings is also available.
“When people talk about Persian food, they usually throw around words like ‘aromatic’ and ‘herby’. Those descriptors are absolutely true, but they don’t even begin to encapsulate Persian Cuisine”, says Sadri, adding, “You definitely don’t have to mysticise Persian food to understand it! Our stews are squishy and comforting, our rice is fluffy and comes topped with crispy layer, and we love our yogurt so much we even drink it!”
He credits the work of his wife Nahid in creating the overall look and feel of the restaurant, where the design concept marries a touch of the old Persian world with the more modern style of today’s Iran. “The name Denj means cozy, and we’ve got great feedback from our customers about the whole ambience of the place, where the vibe is cozy, modern and very relaxing”.
Drinks include cocktails, wines, bubbles, and a selection of Irish craft beers such as St Mel’s Pale Ale and St Mels Helles Lager, all of which pair nicely with chilli-based dishes. Meanwhile, an extensive Sweet Corner includes traditional desserts such as Baclava, Cheesecake and Death by Chocolate, with a stunning take on Bastani Sonati also available. Consisting of a bowl of delicious homemade ice-cream made with Safran sourced directly from their homeplace in Iran, along with Crunchy Cream, Pistachio, and a dash of rose water, Sadri tells us that this old-school Persian favourite offers a lovely, refreshing way to finish off your Persian dining experience.
3 – 5 Orwell Road, Rathgar, Dublin 6
Opening Hours: Wed – Sat 5pm – 10pm; Sun 3pm – 8pm
Early Bird Menu Wed & Thurs 5pm – 7pm; Sun 3pm – 7pm