I think I’ve mentioned before that I love lamb. Beef is great, obviously, but there’s something about the intense flavour of a good piece of lamb that I find irresistible.
Takht-e Tavoos’s version of kalleh pacheh — an Iranian soup made with chunks of lamb hoof, tongue, and cheek — is almost certainly the lambiest dish that I’ve ever had. The flavour was intense. I loved it.
The broth is thick and rich, with a really pronounced meaty flavour. There’s a Middle Eastern dish that consists of rice and lamb (I had a version of this at Reyan in Mississauga), and this was almost like a soup version of that; there’s no rice here, but the spices are very similar. It’s almost too rich, but a spritz of lime adds some brightness and helps to round things out.
And the chunks of lamb (which were generous) were so good. Certainly, with its hodge-podge of face and feet, it might be a bit of a tough sell. But, for the most part, the meat here was amazingly well prepared.
The cheek, which was unctuous and luxurious, was the best of the bunch. It was melt-in-your-mouth tender, with a face-punch of amazingly lamby flavour.
The tongue was almost as good. It certainly looks a bit off-putting (it’s a full tongue, so there’s no mistaking what it is), but the meat was amazing. It doesn’t have the intense fattiness of the cheek, so if you’re fat-averse, this might be more your speed.
The hoof was easily my least favourite of the three. This is a harder cut of meat to get right — it’s mostly just a lot of really thick skin and collagen, without a whole lot of actual meat. The skin here was a bit too rubbery, and the meat almost non-existent.
Still, given how good the other two cuts of meat were, it’s hard to complain too much. Plus, the dish comes with some fresh, tasty flatbread on the side. It tastes just as good on its own as it does dipped into the soup.
Honestly, my biggest complaint about this dish? It’s an absurd amount of food. Between the heaping bowl of rich soup, the substantial pile of meat, and the two sizable slices of flatbread, it feels more like something that The Rock should be eating during a training regimen than a meal for a normal person. I (mostly) finished it, and I felt obscenely full for the rest of the day.