Cafe Tehran

Dumbarton Road, Glasgow 

In the beginning, of this meal anyway, there was the Bandari, hot Iranian sausage, wrapped tightly in good bread, slathered in onion, tomato paste and chilli, which we eat by way of a light warm up before the Zereshk Polo Ba Morgh arrives. And also before spoonfuls are extracted from a bowl of sour yoghurt and mixed into that Noodle Stew.

But actually, before that? We had moved through the back of this long thin cafe: bigger tables, we were told. And there were. But they also have unusual plinths around the edge of the seats, that raise our legs, making me adopt a kinda chubby jockey stance to eat. Not a good feel. Not a good look.

The Herald: Cafe Tehran in Glasgow is recommendedCafe Tehran in Glasgow is recommended (Image: free)

So on my insistence we move back out front to the two seaters and the pool table. Oh, and there was a bit of a weird disco vibe going on with the lights and music back through there too. Better here anyway.

We're halfway through tasting that Zereshk, Cal and I both taking chunks of spiced saffron chicken, mixing it with a rich tomatoey-oniony relish stuff, and grabbing forkfuls of rice, we’re puzzling over those tangy red things.


Every plate was crammed full of surprises at Skua in Edinburgh

This authentic Glasgow Chinese restaurant is refreshingly different

Suresh and Sons The Kitchen, Glasgow, is cheap and very cheerful

What are they? Sugared cranberries? Pickled pomegranate seeds?

Neither, I discover, after pinching one between my fingers and taking it all the way up to the counter. Barberries. Wild seeds, doused in sugar, saffron and fried or so the boys there tell me. Delicious certainly. Moreish too.

Now, the Tehran Cafe at first blush, as you may have worked out already, is a little bit out-there, kinda wacky, yet totally family run as we will discover.

We wandered in randomly after seeing the Daily Specials board out on Dumbarton Road and, full disclosure here, after also discovering that the new Chinese restaurant we were originally heading too (drove up almost to the door of) was not, in fact, - fingers pointing at you here, Mr Google - actually in any way open on this Tuesday night.

Sign up for Ron's newsletter and get his review two whole days before it appears anywhere else.

However, it’s cool, comfortable, laid back in here. They didn’t have any Tehran Juje. That rice and crispy chicken dish already having sold out. But we improvise. That Ash Reshten, or Persian Noodle Stew, thick, meaty, rich with the flavour of vegetables, sour with the cream, warming too, and here’s the clever bit: no meat. At all. Comes with Barbari Bread though. Not so much a flat, flat bread as a puffy flat bread with a light crunch and a chewy middle. Made by the man behind the counter’s dad.

In fact, his dad’s sitting through the back there, in the, ahem, disco bit, having his tea while we chat. Hi dad.

He, too, makes the Pirashki, those little stuffed Iranian pastries they also sell in here, and was a baker in Tehran back in the day. Amazing the things you learn while you’re paying the bill.

The Herald: Cafe Tehran in GlasgowCafe Tehran in Glasgow (Image: free)

Mum, I’m pretty sure that’s her coming in and out of the kitchen incidentally, hand-makes all the pickles. This we find out when I slide one of the big plastic jars across the counter and ask what they are and how much are they?

The answer is pickles, of course, and £6.99. So they too go on the bill. But we already know these pickled vegetables. They come with the dishes we’ve had in here already tonight. In that sandwich. On the side of the plate containing the Zereshk, their salty sharpness countering the rich saffron tang of the meats, and we certainly crunched, and may even have dipped some, as we took turns spooning away at the noodle stew.

The Tehran Cafe then? It’s a little bit of everything. The menu contains waffles, ice creams, a selection of Iranian Daily Specials, street-food sandwiches including the Bandari and Beef Haida.

I see a sign for Iranian breakfasts on the wall behind this counter. It looks like they’re trying all angles as they start this new business. Fair enough. It’s what many new ventures start out doing. But for me the proper Iranian food is the thing.

Well worth trying.

Cafe Tehran

292 Dumbarton Road Glasgow


Six days 11am til 11pm, 5pm til 11pm on a Sunday.

Menu: It’s a little bit of everything but tucked away on the Specials are proper Iranian dishes, plus street food sandwiches. Interesting. 4/5

Service: It’s a family business, always a good thing. Friendly when they get chatting. 4/5

Price: Those full size main courses; the Zereshk Polo, was £12, the Ash Reshten £8, sandwiches £6.99. 4/5

Atmosphere: It’s a long narrow cafe, there’s a pool table somewhere, a chill area in the back, two-seater tables. 3/5

Food: Proper Iranian dishes, freshly made breads, they make their own pickles, a lot to like. 7/10