As far as we can tell, Pardis is Bangkok’s fanciest Iranian restaurant. Set on the corner of Rama 4 and a dark alley, overly bright and box-shaped (and with a big flat screen TV set on channel 3 hypnotizing its Thai staff), the vibe is actually more dolled-up diner than Persian fantasy. But with its cream tones, latticework and chandeliers, it’s also a far cry from the seedy, grungy, neon-lit competition.
Service, although not particularly pleasant, is lightning fast, and diners at a given table are always served simultaneously—a nice, and remarkably rare, touch. The food too, is consistently a notch above what we’ve had elsewhere in town. Doogh is a yogurt drink with dry mint and the one at Pardis is particularly thick and satisfying (B30) although its lack of water is a little unorthodox.
The menu is actually pretty basic. There are eight chelow kebabs, which are combinations of roasted meats and saffron rice with butter (well, margarine). Just like we call pad Thai fast food, chelow kebab is Iran’s quick, single-dish comfort food. Iranian kebabs are served as long, 10-inch strips of roasted meat, and Pardis’ have pleasantly crisp exteriors although, as is often the case, the inside can be overly dry. In that respect, the koobideh (where the meat is minced with parsley, onions and herbs) fairs better than the barg (which is marinated meat). All these come in variations of lamb, chicken or beef, ranging from B260 to B460.
If kebabs aren’t your thing, there are also a half-dozen dishes served with baghali polo, which is a fragrant rice with split peas and chopped herbs. Our favorite is the lamb shank (baghali polo machiceh): fall off the bone meat, slow-cooked with onions and bathed in a light olive oil and lemon sauce. The lamb is incredibly tender without a hint of gaminess. A couple of salads, a couple of yogurt appetizers (with cucumber or spinach), a soup of the day, a couple of stews and that’s about it.
While Pardis isn’t exactly a 1001 nights experience, it is refreshingly exotic, authentic (the crowd is 90% Iranian) and a solid diner for fast, hearty, fuss-free meals.