Restaurant review: Patogh

8 Crawford Place, London, W1H 5NE
Telephone: 0871 3328448

When my younger brother was a resident doctor at the Hammersmith, he used to arrive on Edgeware road on a Sunday evening, (after a weekend on being on duty) and order a dozen or so pieces of deep fried chicken from the HFC (Halal Fried Chicken). He would then sit in his car, windows up and listen to Radio 4 whilst he scoffed it down. On one such occasion, a scantily dressed woman tapped on the window to ask him if he would like a good time. He replied that he was already having one, but nonetheless thanked her for her concern.

I mention this because it has nothing to do with the Patogh restaurant except that it too is situated on Edgeware road, is halal and can also be enjoyed in a family friendly, windows up fashion. Much of the rest of Edgeware road cannot. It is the home (or more correctly the habitat) of the Edgware Road Arab, a species introduced to me by an Egyptian colleague who said that the road was the final destination of every secular sleazy Arab whose ill gotten wealth (looted from Muslim lands) allowed him residency in west London. These men can be seen lounging about the street, undressing passersby with their eyes and smoking. Nocturnally they retire to the Whitley center where they do sedentary laps of the ground floor. The giveaway is that as the sun sets, they remain unmoved.

Despite this, the Patogh restaurant remains so good an eating destination for religious Muslims, that it is worth the trip. So confident am I of its quality, that if one does not fully enjoy it then it reflects badly on the patron rather than the chef. The fare is Iranian and consists in large part of various combinations of freshly grilled meat, rice, freshly baked bread (which is outstanding) and lots of butter to aid digestion and ward of malnutrition (the constant fear of the inactive western Muslim activist).

It is not a place that one can take ones spouse, or intended spouse as no good can come from watching ones betrothed or recently married, eating like a horse (or the reverse). I once saw a large sister come in and sit down, and nonchalantly drag an entire table towards her and demand to be fed. That image still haunts me in my most vulnerable moments. If I ever find myself campaigning for public action on any topic, it will be that men and women eat privately from each other.

The premises are tiny, even smaller upstairs and bookings are essential. The quality of the fare and its price make a mockery of the sad self-flagellation that the locals in the UK mistake for a national diet.

14 comments ↓

#1 Hamzah on 05.15.07 at 10:26 pm

Well said, anything claiming to be part of a UK diet must be avoided. Will endevour to brave “the edge” and give it a crack. Thanks.

#2 dezhen on 05.16.07 at 6:28 am

When I visited London after living in the inner-west of Sydney for a few years I was like “oh, it’s just like where I live now, but smaller” (perhaps also sleazier?). The food was hella good though, except most places only take cash so be prepared. :)

#3 Amal on 05.16.07 at 8:23 am

Thanks for the laughs, Baybers (as always).

#4 Amir on 05.16.07 at 9:52 am

The quality of the fare and its price make a mockery of the sad self-flagellation that the locals in the UK mistake for a national diet.

Baybers, the national diet in the UK now seems to be curry. I was surprised to see even in the part of the UK where my family lives (as you know, a place not known for it’s embrace of foreign cuisine or indeed foreign anything), lots of Indian takeaways dotted throughout villages and small towns.

Edgeware Rd is sleazy but, to be fair, parts of Melbourne and Sydney are far worse. Even walking around the area late at night, I didn’t feel the same sense of menace that I feel walking around the equivalent parts of Sydney after dark.

#5 Baybers on 05.16.07 at 6:40 pm

Amir, you are quite right, part of the national diet is from the Islamic world, but unfortunately not all of it. There are some outstanding Pakistani food places to eat, and perhaps we will get to them in later reviews.

Edware road is more unfortunate than sinister. Most people visiting it mistake the inhabitants for Muslims, rather than what they are: secular Arabs.

Amal, you are very welcome. The place is actually very suitable to take ones family, and cheap. Iranian food is delicious.

#6 thabet on 05.16.07 at 7:13 pm

I dislike the majority of eating establishments on Edgware Road, largely due to their appalling service and sheer lack of manners. I tend to avoid it nowadays.

I’ve not been there for a few months, but I wonder if the American Christians are still on the street corners handing out Arabic language missionary material.

Crawford Place also happens to be where The City Circle (it is headed by Yahya Birt) have their weekly lectures/debates. If you’re in the area again, you might want to check it out (45 Crawford Place). Entry is usually free.

I would add that don’t think there is a “UK” cuisine. Local regions have their own foods although this is probably dying; and as Amir points out “foreign” food (curries, kebabs, pastas etc.) are now as “British” as roast beef.

#7 Baybers on 05.16.07 at 8:42 pm

Thabet,

its interesting that you say that, it is also my experience with the waiters in the arab places tend to be oily and obsequious to English patrons, but are rude to their Muslim ones.

Patogh is different, the service is great.

BTW, I’m glad that you have come up for air, some of us were concerned that you had been kidnapped by Ali Etraz, kept in a dungeon, forced you to read Irshad Manji and listen to vulgar punjabi Music.

#8 Amir on 05.16.07 at 10:15 pm

It’s difficult to see how traditional British fare such as black pudding, bubble and squeak, bangers and mash, toad in the hole, or even Mrs Brains’ faggots served up in a delicious West country sauce (see here for more details) could ever compete with Indian/Pakistani food.

Baybers, I notice from a number of your posts now that you have a certain animus towards the British.  You’ve criticised British sportsmen, British cricket, British Arabs, British prostitutes, British streets, and now British food but have been completely silent on the far more pressing question of Australian and American cultural artifacts and food.  Please explain (as one Australian cultural icon famously put it).

#9 KashifN on 05.17.07 at 1:17 am

I’ve always assumed that the British acquired their taste for curries from their time over in India. Curries have featured in the list of top 10 national dishes for years now – often taking top spot.

#10 KashifN on 05.17.07 at 1:28 am

btw. your opening paragraph raised a lot of laughs in my tech team.

#11 Yusuf Smith on 05.18.07 at 6:47 am

As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

Whiteley’s is a shopping centre in Bayswater – I’m not sure what the reference to it was meant to be, but it is full of the usual shops you find in a British shopping centre. The street outside (Queensway) has a number of Arabic shops and cafés.

I don’t eat on the Edgware Road much now either; I occasionally go to the “Halal Restaurant” on the east side just north of Old Marylebone Road. Occasionally I might go to Meshwar and have one of their big plates of chicken and rice, but that really does bloat you out. My favourite eaterie in west London is the Moroccan Tagine, on the Golborne Road (W10). As the name implies it does Moroccan food: tagines, couscous, and the like. The service is usually very friendly. Also, try Abu Zad on Uxbridge Road in Shepherds’ Bush, which does nice Syrian food.

#12 Omar on 05.19.07 at 4:35 am

Abu Zaad- my favourite :)

#13 UmmFarouq on 06.03.07 at 3:14 am

My husband and I courted while eating many a chelo kabab khobideh from the only Persian restaurant in town.

Was that wrong?

#14 Baybers on 06.03.07 at 8:34 am

Amir, some of my best friends are English my sister and my younger brother, I drive a British car, my shirts are made in Jermyn street, a read a British weekly magazine, I listen to radio 4. we don’t play God save the Queen, but that can’t be far off.

KashifN,

I think that on behalf of all of us in the halal wasteland downunder, you need to eat there and give us an update.

Yusuf,

The halal restaurant on Edware rd is a good choice, but is slightly sterile . A for the Whitely center, it takes on a completely different appearance after dark on Friday and Saturday nights.

Umm Farouque,

Yes I’m afraid it was, and there will be a price to be paid for such a breech of etiquette

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