New to Church Street - or Eat Street as it is known to Parramatta locals - is Khatoon Cuisine. Along with its neighbour, Itihaas Indian Restaurant, Khatoon Cuisine stands out amongst the chains as one of the few independent businesses on the rapidly changing dining strip.
The interior is opulent with some of the biggest, heaviest chairs I’ve ever seen in a restaurant. It’s decorated with an odd collection of global influences, running from Big Ben in the United Kingdom, to scenes of New York and New Orleans. Iconic Hollywood figures like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn sit alongside log cabin art and an ornate wooden liquor cabinet.
We’re here with Taste Food Tours on the Taste of Australia Tour ($145/person) to eat jelly. Australian kids grew up eating Aeroplane Jelly, so this dessert has a bit of nostalgic charm.
Called a 3D Flower Jelly ($7) it’s certainly an eye-catching dome of multi-coloured jelly that looks like a flower is trapped within. Each jelly is hand-injected and totally unique.
I could live without the whipped cream and Mynor topping garnish, but I’m sure the kids will like it. Sadly the flavour was a bit of a letdown, as it’s pretty standard jelly, where I was hoping for some more typical Persian flavours, like carrot, pomegranate, rosewater or cardamom. In terms of flavour, I'd rate the rain cake I had at the Taiwanese Night Market in Eastwood as better, but that one just enclosed a real chrysanthemum bloom as opposed to this hand-created work of art.
I did find the Persian flavours I was looking for in the Shole Zard ($5), a generous glass bowl of rice pudding coloured and flavoured with saffron (a big Iranian export), rose water and slivered almonds. It's super sweet but comforting, with that intriguing undercurrent of flavour that Iranian saffron gives.
From the savoury menu we ate Mast o Labu ($7) a Persian yoghurt dip flavoured with beetroot. The canned beetroot was a bit dull, so this pink dip mostly tasted like mild, tangy yoghurt.
Kashk e Bademjaan ($10) was the best thing I tried. It’s a smoked eggplant dish with plenty of garlic, laid flat and accentuated with chopped walnuts and dried mint.
You scoop it up onto bread, and get a round, mouth filling smoky flavour that makes you want to eat more. With a whole page of kebabs to explore, there’s definitely room for a repeat visit to Khatoon Cuisine, especially as it’s well placed to combine with a show at the Riverside Theatre.
NOTE: This story began here, continued here, here and in my last blog post, and will continue in my next blog post.
327 Church Street, Parramatta
Ph: (02) 8606 5686