Global Feast is a gorgeous international project running alongside the Olympics, where different chefs each night cook up a feast from their country. They’re all assisted by one of the brains behind the project: blogger, writer and supper-club queen Ms Marmite Lover, who is currently camping out at Stratford Town Hall so she can be close at hand. Diners eat round a table shaped like a world map that was created by Atmos. Eat Hackney went along for the Persian night, to taste a cuisine that is currently enjoying a lot of attention from chefs and foodies.
The makeshift kitchen was run by British-Iranian Sabrina Ghayour, who runs a sell-out supper club under the name of Sabrina’s Kitchen, and Sally Butcher and her Iranian husband Jamshid who run the cornershop Persepolis in Peckham; Sally is also the author of Persia in Peckham and Vegistan. Ms Marmite Lover was in the kitchen too, speedily knocking out huge piles of puffy pitta bread. Sally’s starter was a visual delight – plates of meze consisting of spiced houmous, kashk-e-bademjun (aubergine with whey), must-e-laboo (yoghurt with cardamom and beetroot), and couscous salad with black cumin, feta and dates.
Another striking sight of the night occurred when Sabrina seemed to magic around sixty citrus-infused roast poussins out of nowhere: they were adorned with colourful “bejewelled” rice and whisked to the tables by an efficient and cheery team of waitresses; the veggie alternative was the glamorous rice served with a lemon hotpot containing black-eyed beans and dill. Things were rounded off with dancing, live music and Sabrina’s coconut carrot cake served with rose-infused cream.
Three beautiful recipes have been passed to Eat Hackney: Sally’s kookoo sabzi or, as she puts it, “herby omelette thingies,” and Sabrina’s poussins and bejewelled rice. The last two are sumptuous served together. Sabrina says that Iranians think chicken breast is too dry, much preferring tender poussin, the teenager of the chicken world. And as for the bejewelled rice, it is apparently what Iranians cook as feast food – it’s made to impress, and when you taste it you’ll understand why.