Spices plays a starring role in Iranian cuisine but it’s not what you describe as “spicy”.
Confused? Sadaf Tootoonchi Moghaddam can help. She owns and runs the popular Limoo Cafe at Hamilton with her husband Shervin Safaei.
The dishes they create not only look stunning – a vibrant kaleidoscope of colours and textures – they are also full of flavour thanks to a careful balance of spices.
“Iranian cuisine is simple but has a variety of spices. We use turmeric, saffron, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom and more in most of our food, but not too much. It’s a balance,” she explained.
“Rice plays a big role in all of our dishes. Iranian – or Persian – food is not very famous, like Indian food. It is similar to other Middle Eastern cuisines, like Lebanese, but it’s not too spicy.”
And, Sadaf says, patience is a virtue when it comes to cooking Iranian cuisine.
“Sometimes it takes three or four hours to be ready. Our approach is that food should be authentic, slow cooked, fresh and delicious. We follow this in everything we make, from our dips to our fresh homemade cakes.”
The couple moved to Australia in 2012 from the Iranian capital, Tehran, to study at the University of Newcastle. They both have years of hospitality experience.
“We share a love and passion for food and sharing our beautiful Iranian culture and cuisine with people, and that encouraged us to establish Limoo in 2016,” Sadaf said.
“My husband and I decided to open a stall at Newcastle City Farmers Market to sell some Iranian products such as dips, nibbles and jams, and after some successful months we thought that we would open a cafe or restaurant in Hamilton.
“We opened Limoo Cafe in October 2016. We started with breakfast and lunch but after one year we focused on dinner more than lunch or breakfast.
“We have dips, entrees and mains. Shervin and I cook all of the food and sweets at Limoo.
“We also have different types of baklavas and some cakes. Our famous cheesecakes run out every day.”
Other popular dishes at Limoo Cafe are the Fesenjoon (chicken stew in a sweet and sour pomegranate and walnut sauce) and the Khoresht Qeymeh (diced lamb stew in a tomato and split pea sauce flavoured with black lime).
Limoo Cafe, 74 Beaumont Street, Hamilton. Tuesday to Saturday, 5.30pm to 9.30pm, and Sunday, 5pm to 8pm.
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