Recognising the gap in Adelaide’s food scene for Fine Dining Persian cuisine, husband and wife Omid and Mali concluded that they would need to institute their own.
The chosen name of their culinary project, Naaz, was selected for its exquisite meaning: beauty of the highest order. This permeates throughout the entire beautiful space, from the breathtakingly presented dishes to the colourfully decorated interior, brimming with ornaments that represent their rich history and culture.
Though one would be forgiven for naming kebabs as a typical Persian food, Naaz has instead curated a menu that highlights dishes more unique to their Northern Iranian home. Hailing from a countryside that is filled with rice farms, it is unsurprising that this grain is featured quite prominently in their selective menu.
The description “Jewelled Rice” is completely accurate; the dish, though presented with succulently marinated chicken, undoubtedly highlights the rice – a staple of the country’s cuisine.
Here, a medley of colour and flavour is combined, through the use of traditional ingredients (think saffron, and slivered pistachio and orange), which serves to transform the ordinarily plain rice into contrasting palates of taste and texture.
Another bedazzled piece of edible artwork, this dish demonstrates the effect that varying combinations of ingredients can have in producing a wholly differing end result.
The ‘polo’ (rice) is here served beneath a flurry of deeply red wild barberries, brightly green slivered pistachio, and golden saffron strands that delicately tinge the otherwise snow-white grains of rice.
Served with a deceptively humble side of chicken, the tenderly cooked, richly flavoured meat falls off the bone and melts in the mouth, providing the perfect accompaniment.
It is clear that while both ‘Morassa’ and ‘Zereshk appear as similar – if not the same – meal on paper, what actually transpires is two utterly individual, distinctive dishes, which are equally delightful to eat.
Naaz Sini (Tasting Platter)
A visually stunning selection of vegetarian options, this is the perfect entry-level option for those struggling to choose just one menu item.
Showcasing an array of appetisers and side dishes, there is something for everyone here – including eggplant, presented three ways. While the creaminess of the vegetable is evident through each, their flavour profiles differ dramatically, resulting in three distinct offerings: smoky, sweet and fierily warm.
Accompanied by light, fresh sticks of flat bread, and a central bowl of sweet, cinnamon-spiced rice, guests are invited to sample the many varied creations, including a fresh ‘Mast-O-Khiar’ (cucumber and mint yoghurt), and ‘Baghali Ghatogh’ (lima beans with dill).
Featuring the heavily favoured eggplant, this is a homely, comforting dish that embodies great depth of flavour. The mellowness of the creamy eggplant is deliciously complemented by the intense savouriness of lamb, and the bite of the yellow peas.
A perfectly cooked ‘khoresht’ (casserole) that is dangerously moreish.
Naaz have succeeded in transforming meals of a rustic origin, with humble ingredients, into stunningly refined, invitingly delicious pieces that are a joy and beauty to behold.
Naaz Restaurant is open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday, and for lunch Friday to Sunday.
Words by Anh Ngo
WHERE: 260 Pulteney Street Adelaide