I hadn't set foot in this building for nearly 30 years. In those days it was called 'The Country Friends', it was a first date, and I had to go and check my wallet between courses to make sure I could afford to pay the bill.
My next visit was last week - the contrast with all those years ago couldn't be greater. As another reviewer, it was so quiet when we arrived I wasn't sure the restaurant was open. Opening the door to the bar was a like that film scene where one is suddenly hit by warmth, a buzz of conversation, the smell of great food and a big smile from the staff. Our friends were waiting with a drink and all was well!
After being shown to our table an appetiser turned up - salad, humus, aubergine dip and bread - and was despatched while we caught up with news from our friends.
We had decided to take advantage of the Friday night buffet and were led, armed with plates, to the room with the food. It all looked wonderful and we were spoiled for choice. I'd not eaten Persian cuisine before but had hoped it would be similar to other Middle-Eastern food with lots of fragrance and light on spice and texture. I wasn't disappointed.
Two types of rice, cous-cous, two chicken dishes (one very hot), a kind of lamb tagine, potatos, spinach, lentils - I tried them all, and then went back for more just to check that I was right about how good it all was.
The owner of the restaurant came to our table to check that we were enjoying ourselves (we were, immensely). I bumped in to the chef as he was refilling the food pots and had a very interesting conversation with him about the differences between his food and other Eastern dishes.
All in all, a really good evening, excellent food, lovely ambience, and we'll be back, with others.