REVIEW: Reza, Westgate Road, Newcastle

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Pretty as a picture, palate-pleasing and purse-friendly – Persian food at this culinary ode to Iranian flavours ticked all the boxes for me.

We were searching for a restaurant which could satisfy our rumbling tums ahead of a show at Newcastle Arena.

With all the usual haunts within a five-minute walk of the venue full, we stumbled across this exotic eatery.

As I peered through the garishly-lit window, there was not a soul to be seen inside. It was early for evening eating and the menu sounded so good, we decided to give it a whirl anyway.

This was a foray into the gastronomic unknown for me, but one I’m eager to repeat.

I hadn’t heard of the bulk of the dishes on the menu – but most are lamb and rice-based, so they’re easy enough to digest. There’s also a decent selection of vegetarian versions.

I was feeling swayed by the abgosht, a traditional Iranian stew (£8). But as this was my first time feasting on Persian food, I didn’t want to invest my tastebuds in just one dish.

Instead, I chose – to the tune of the traditional music in the background – the combi platter, a selection of three starters for £10.

For my pounds I was presented with a rainbow of foods, from a matador cape red pepper which was bursting with minced lamb, spices and rice, to lush green vine leaves that tightly packed a host of more delicate flavours.

To complete this trio of treats, I’d chosen the classic kofteh – minced lamb, rice and herbs rolled into meat balls.

The lamb was succulently tender as you would expect from any Eastern restaurant worth its salt and it was all beautifully presented in tapas-sized dishes.

Portion-size is pretty meaty, but make sure to leave room for dessert. The coconut ice, rose water and saffron sorbet I had was a palate-refresher like no other.

Katy Wheeler