Nutshell owners Marwa (a chef and Le Cordon Bleu London alumni) and Mohammad are on a mission to bring authentic Iranian recipes to London’s diners, but with a modern twist – and if our visit was anything to go by, they are on course to do just that.
Perched on St Martin’s Lane in the heart of theatre land, this welcoming-but-modern restaurant covers two levels – the buzzy ground floor with open kitchen and bar seating, and a more private upstairs area. It’s all brass touches against elegant dusky-pink seats and pistachio-green suede booths (in a nod to the pistachio nut logo, no doubt), put together by the team behind Lyle’s and Gymkhana. Heavy earthenware sharing plates and rustic wooden serving boards bring a contrast to the sleek mirrored interior, adding a relaxed element to the smart design.
Head chef Jeremy Borrow (formerly head chef at The Palomar) has created an exciting menu of sharing plates covering a broad range of ingredients. Start with the surely soon-to-be-famous bazaar bread, which comes out hot, and is the perfect accompaniment to the panir sabzi, a whipped feta, herbs and walnut spread that is good enough to eat by the spoonful. The bulk of the menu is divided into mezze, stove and grill, and is great for mixing and matching. The crispy brik sambusach (parcels of turmeric and potato) are worth fighting over, while the lamb cutlets with sour cherry and potato tahdig are as beautifully prepared as they are presented. Leaving space for dessert is a must, with the more traditional offerings or dessert cocktails to tempt you. The chocolate & roses is a solid slice of petal and pistachio-topped decadence, while the coffee & orange is yoghurt topped with orange pith and fig for an extra pretty finish.
The drinks menu has something for everyone, from mocktails to kombucha, beer, spiced gin and a great wine selection, to inventive cocktails with a Middle-Eastern flavour twist. The Persian Bubbles (limoo-infused cognac topped with champagne) is sharp and refreshing, while the Caspian sea (pulped watermelon, amaretto and lemon) is a sweet, summery treat.
£100 for cocktails, bread to start, five sharing plates and dessert for two.
This is a versatile spot, perfect for pre-theatre drinks and a few lighter bites, chatting over shared plates on a date or grabbing dinner at the bar with friends.