'Eating becomes adventure' at Edmonton's Persia Palace
'If you go off the beaten path sometimes ... it not only opens your palate but your mind'
A sampling of broth brewed from eyeballs, brain, tongue and hooves didn't go down smoothly for Edmonton AM's food critic Twyla Campbell.
The dish — Kelle Paça — is usually among her favourite dishes, but the offering at Persia Palace missed the mark.
"I will run people to get to this soup. It is so good. It really is one of my favourite things to eat, but the recipe at Persia Palace was a bit different. That broth lacked the body and the flavour."
The offal soup wasn't exactly awful, it was just lacking the body and flavour Campbell has grown so accustomed to in her Sheep's head stew.
And it had a distinct gamey taste.
"You're either going to like that kind of lamb or you're not, I'm personally not a fan," Campbell said during a Friday morning interview on the CBC Edmonton morning show.
"For the first timers at our table, trying this was a very unique experience and I'm not sure it was a hit with everybody."
The soup was Campbell's least favourite of all the traditional Iranian entrees she sampled at the Millwoods neighbourhood restaurant.
The expansive dining room of gold and brocade — replete with a mural of ancient Persia — started serving its first customers six months ago.
Other dishes failed to impress Campbell. Instead of fresh and fluffy, the pita served with her appetizer of yogurt and shredded cucumber, was dry and tasted old.
And the gamey taste which made the sheep's head stew so pungent also permeated the Baghali Polo with lamb shank.
But after a few stand-out dishes, Campbell's appetite for Persia Palace returned.
"I would go back, " Campbell said. "There were a lot of interesting dishes that I spied on the menu that I didn't get to try."
"In contrast to the soup, this had everything good going on.
"And that fried eggplant was fantastic. Very rich. There is hummus on the menu, but with a dish like this, you have to go for it. It was so unique and full of flavour.
And although Campbell will be going elsewhere for her lamb's head stew from now on, she says Edmonton's adventurous eaters would be wise to give Persia Palace a try.
"If you go off the beaten path sometimes, eating becomes this adventure. And it not only opens your palate but is also opens your mind.
"And it's that range of cultures that we have in the city that I like best about Edmonton."