The first Ariana was opened in Manhattan, New York City, 25 years ago, and the second was opened in Kilburn on Kilburn High Road more recently. Along with Afghan Kitchen, it is one of only two Afghani Restaurants in London.
Afghan food aims to offer a blend of Indian and Persian cuisine, although there are subtle differences. With plenty of grilled meat, salads and spices, eating at Ariana 2 seems to be a delight for the senses with plenty of different colours and smells. The décor, whilst may be similar to many of the typical Middle Eastern or Sub-continental restaurants, is far from chic, there seems to be a warm feeling to the place and the small nature of the room makes the atmosphere lively when full. Furthermore, the restaurant welcomes guests to bring their own alcohol and refrains from charging corkage on bottles.
Kabuli Palow is a tender lamb shank covered in rice and topped with carrots, raisins, almonds and pistachios. Aushak, which is boiled dumplings filled with leeks and spices and topped with minced meat and yoghurt is a dish that may make one feel like they are eating lovingly home-cooked. Mantu, made along similar lines, are larger with slight differences as minced lamb is found inside as well as on top of the dish.
Plenty of other more typically Middle Eastern dishes like humous, and various grilled kebabs are available as well. The menu comes across as extensive and there are even some Afghan styled fish dishes. The food seems value for money, with the set menu starting at £13.75 a head. With starters beginning at £3, and mains starting at £6, it may be a great place to have a meal on a budget.
The portions seem very large. Go with a large group of people, although given how popular the place is, booking a table is highly advisable. This little piece of Kabul may top one’s tastesbuds.
241 Kilburn High Road
London, NW6 7JN
Starters from £3
Mains from £6
Zero corkage charge on alcoholic drinks
Set menus available