Borage Tea with Saffron Nabat, Lemon Mint Sekanjabin, Persian ice cream & Loads of Charm | A Cafe in Tehran

The other day, someone treated me to lunch in a truly sublime cafe in one of the northern neighborhoods of Tehran.

Days earlier while I was traveling in Yazd there had been an epic hailstorm in Tehran — a storm front that huffed and puffed and hours later made its potent presence felt in Yazd as well, ferociously shaking the lion and sun fabric of the tent ceiling of the coffee shop at the beautiful traditional hotel we were staying at, and delaying our flight from Yazd to Tehran — but on this particular spring day, the weather was just so, and just as one dreams of it being: breezy, clear, cheerfully sunny and perfectly mild.

We chose an outdoor seat, in a clearing lined by cypress tress on one side and surrounded by other tables occupied by what seemed to be a bunch of uniformly very pretty and very trendy Tehranis. Several arrivals were such spectacles that everyone stopped whatever they were doing and stared at the display of fashion and bravado … (if you know what I mean by bravado, ahem.) There was also a very beautiful and somewhat unabashedly communicative cat (such pretty eyes and such a fluffy coat of fur) who was not at all shy about demanding his fair share of food from the gathering at large.

Everything — the location, the menu, the architecture, the landscaping and the food (and beverage and dessert) — was delightful in a low key and gracious manner. Our interlude was leisurely but I was loathe to leave and felt like I could hang out there and nibble, imbibe, people-watch, sky-gaze and admire my beloved cypress trees for days and days!

What follows are some pix from this little marvelous lunch and the good things there were to enjoy.

We had the chicken tandoori wrapped in lavash bread and a kabab wrap. We also shared a terrific salad: crunchy lettuce, olives, feta cheese and crispy pita bread chips served with the most amazingly tart & sweet pomegranate dressing. I loved this salad.

For our drink, I picked …

A lemon, mint and sekanjabin (a mixture of vinegar and honey) drink with crushed ice that was the ultimate in cool fragrant refreshment and with just the perfect hint of sweetness. A winning choice.

My companio picked a pot of the soothing gol gav zaban (borage) brewed tea. It was served in the prettiest way on a little tray with saffron rock candy (nabat) on a stick and two pieces of a Yazdi sweet called Haji Badoom. I wish you could have seen the color of this tea — a very pale purple and rose color although in the photo it just looks like ordinary tea color.

For dessert we shared a wonderful traditional Persian ice cream …

that was sprinkled with solid chips of cream (khameh) …

Need I even mention that it tasted heavenly?

So now you see why I could really have happily spent hours there and would love to go back at least one more time before I return to New York. Meanwhile, I’m off to Shiraz and Kermanshah and I can’t wait to sample the culinary marvels of these cities and share it with you.

Have a delicious weekend and until soon!

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Comments (22)

  • polianthus 10 years ago Reply

    wonderful photos, you have really captured the mood of your afternoon, lovely post.

  • Azita, that bastani looks so delicious, creamy and tempting……

  • tableofcolors 10 years ago Reply

    Ooh, lovely! I think I too could have spent days there gazing and enjoying! Sounds perfectly relaxing. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  • Amanda 10 years ago Reply

    This looks sooooo beautiful.

  • Aneela Mirchandani 10 years ago Reply

    How very decadent. I can certainly see the purple in the tea. Azita, you make me more and more jealous of your travels. 🙂

  • apuginthekitchen 10 years ago Reply

    Yum, I have had that ice cream before with the chunks of frozen cream. It’s heavenly. Everything looks amazing.

  • Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things 10 years ago Reply

    Oh how exquisite Azita!

  • nonoymanga 10 years ago Reply

    refreshing!!! i’m sure it will beat the heat in the metro!!!

  • bonnieeng 10 years ago Reply

    Solid chips of cream!!? Wow, this is too cool Azita!! =)

  • Gather and Graze 10 years ago Reply

    What a beautiful lunch Azita – it sounds like perfection!

  • Tina 10 years ago Reply

    Azita, I hope you are working on your novel. Your beautiful prose and descriptions are enticing, “bravado”? Needs more explanation. Add some names and a plot an you are set! Your lunch and circumstances sound heavenly. Continue to enjoy and share. Thanks.

  • What adventures you’re having, Azita! This looks like a lovely gentle place to spend some time with a friend. The food looks fantastic – particularly the rose coloured tea and the intriguing candy on a stick! 🙂

  • Josiane 10 years ago Reply

    The whole thing – the place, food, drinks, people-watching, and bravado-admiring – sounds truly delightful! Despite all that there is to do and see, there are places like that that warrant a second visit. I hope you’ll get to enjoy another one, just as lovely as this first visit, before the end of your stay.
    I’ve been enjoying your tweets from your time in Shiraz. I’m looking forward to your posts about your shirazi and yazdi excursions.

  • Sophie33 10 years ago Reply

    What a feast for the eyes!!! Waw! That Persian ice-cream looks just wonderful & the rest of the foods & drinks too! 🙂 MMMM!

  • oiyoufood 10 years ago Reply

    Hope you enjoy/ed your time in Iran Azita. I was in Iran recently and this amazing post just makes me teary !! I love to go back soon. What an amazing place! my heart is always in Iran.

    Fig & Quince 10 years ago Reply

    Nargess joon, please forgive the ridiculously belated response. Wow, you were in Iran too? I’m happy to think that you had a good time there as well and I know exactly what you mean about your heart being there. Manam hamintoor, manam hamintoor! Deltangeh deltang hastam. Would love to go back soon.
    Boos boos boos from afar.

  • Now that we are Twitter friends I will tell you, this piece, particularly the borage tea, started a huge fantasy with me and a friend that we would try to find this cafe. Our husbands, this is true, talk about driving overland to Isfahan and we decided, based on this, that we are going too, just on our own. Anyway…. Thank you for giving the world your beautiful blog.

    Fig & Quince 10 years ago Reply

    Dear Annie, Thank you for leaving one of the most endearing and delightful comments ever on this blog. It made me smile ear to ear. Wow, driving overland to Isfahan …. and going to have borage tea in Tehran! As I said on Twitter, I hope and pray that your flight of fantasy takes wings and you all realize it. I would LOVE to tag along as well. 😉

  • […] of that blog and the enjoyment she brings me.  Here she sent me on a little fantasy spin to drink Borage Tea in a Tehran Cafe.  You must check out Fig and Quince! […]

  • Debraj 8 years ago Reply

    Would love to go here when we visit Tehran. May I bother you by asking the name of this place?

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    Dear Debra, you should definitely go to this cafe! It is called “Cafe Khosh Nevissan” and it’s nestled inside the “Kosh Neivssan Museum” in the Zafaraniyeh neighborhood. Don’t miss a visit to the Film Museum either – it’s part of the Ferdows Garden (near the Tajrish neighborhood) and has a bookstore and a couple of cool cafes as well.

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