The moment I entered in restaurant, owner asked me, “Are you Iranian?”
Me- No (a quick response) and headed straight towards table (with smile on my face).
How do I know he was the owner? It was my second visit but I was surprised that he asked me similar question on my first visit. My first visit was quite an event to remember. I was so enthusiastic to just be there. I think; I was probably radiating with super energy of excitement to try new food.
My curiosity in history engaged me to know beyond Mughal and British invasion in India. ‘Invasion’ sounds pretty negative word but that is how I started my interest in Persian culture. I started reading but nothing particularly serious. I didn’t dig up; I didn’t make my own statistics but I was hooked by their art. They use lots of colour especially red, green and blue often accompanied by miniature design of flowers. I started to discover cultural ties through invasion. It led me to think about the recipes we use. Perhaps food can be one of the big examples of coexisting of different cultures. And that’s how I ended up trying Persian food to know how different it is from my food.
Our first conversation started when I saw on the back of menu ‘Dr.’ prefix in his name. It definitely intrigued me to know more about him. I discovered during our conversation that he studied medicine at Hanyang University (that explains why he uses ‘Dr.’). His passion for cooking has made him successful restaurant owner where he promotes Iranian cuisine. (I started floating in my thought bubble. ‘It is possible.’ It is possible to do research and follow your passion as well. One live example is right in front of me. ) Soon, my chain of thought was interrupted by his question, “You are interested in which era? Which king do you like most?” I was blank. It was so embarrassing moment for me because I knew nothing in detail. All I mumbled that I like cultural ties between Persian and Indian and the era before they started following Islam.
I don’t know that it was my interest in his culture or my vacuous answer that he offered me a tour of his restaurant and office. It was a work of art even the stairs were decorated in beautiful order.
He was very friendly and let me took pictures of his office. It was pretty interesting to see microscope in his office. It prompted me to ask about his research. He was working on breast cancer at that time.
We headed towards his massive Shiraz wine collection. I was like just wow. He also has a hobby of collecting rare jewelry from ancient time. I was overwhelmed by all that and thanked him to showing me Persian culture.
(To see more interior click on this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HkDGxbJVvw)
It was time to attack on food. One more important thing you can select spiciness level in this restaurant. Scale is from 2.0 to 4.0. It is best to choose below medium for first time. My one friend who thought he can handle medium spiciness turned sweaty red tomato in the end and gave us good laugh. Menus are available in English as well. Try Persian soup if you have no idea about Persian food.
You can find address here
121-1, Myeongnyundong 2-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul