Chef Ali Ahmadpour showcases the best flavours, textures, and traditions of Persian, Turkish, and Jordanian cuisines at Middle Eastern hotspot BEDU

When a new chef comes on board a restaurant we love and frequent, it’s always with a sense of trepidation that we first sample the newcomer’s menu. At Meraki Hospitality Group’s BEDU, a contemporary Middle Eastern eatery nestled on Gough Street’s hip F&B strip, the arrival in question is Ali Ahmadpour, a young Iranian chef making his Hong Kong debut. Over the past 12 years, chef Ali has worked his way up some of Iran and Oman’s most well-known kitchens, most recently at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah in Muscat.

The rich, complex culinary history of the Bedouin nomads of North Africa and the Middle East has been the focus of BEDU since its opening in 2018, here expressed in modern, innovative ways. Chef Ali’s attention has specifically turned to the traditions of Persian and Turkish cuisines, with a touch of Jordanian flavours and cooking techniques added for good measure. However, it’s chef Ali’s Persian heritage that truly shines on the menu, drawing inspiration from his childhood and travels.

We tried the Chef’s Menu (HKD520 pp), available only during dinner service, in order to experience the full breadth of chef Ali’s talents. Showcasing the chef’s favourite dishes, it’s extremely good value for money for such a feast.

BEDU review: new head chef Ali Ahmadpour curates a colourful menu spotlighting the art of Persian cooking

Before the meal, our server brought over this spice box to our table, opening it like a treasure chest. Inside, the six glass vials contain the spices that are vital to Middle Eastern cuisine’s elaborate flavour profile: tangy sumac, warming baharat, herby za’atar, nutty dukkah, vibrant saffron, and smoky paprika.

BEDU review: new head chef Ali Ahmadpour curates a colourful menu spotlighting the art of Persian cooking

We truly ate with our eyes when it came to this extravagant cold mezze platter – what a rainbow of colour! The smoky hummus is one of the best renditions of this Middle Eastern dip that we’ve ever had, the perfect vehicle for the fresh, crisp garden vegetables (the pickled radish is a standout) and pillowy flatbread. We couldn’t detect any beetroot flavour in the refreshing beetroot labneh, but its eye-catching pink hue won us over. A classic Iranian recipe, the brininess of the olives in the olive parvardeh is tamed by a balance of sweet Persian pomegranate molasses and tart pomegranate molasses from Jordan. The newly introduced lentil hummus – a first for us – steals the mezze show. Thicker than traditional hummus made with chickpeas, its velvety texture and deeply nutty flavour envelope the palate. We’re told that the lentil hummus recipe is inspired by adasi, a Persian lentil soup.

BEDU review: new head chef Ali Ahmadpour curates a colourful menu spotlighting the art of Persian cooking

Next up on the Chef’s Menu, we have the hot mezze. The honey-baked feta – salty, savoury, and sweet all at once – is crowned with crispy potato strips, making it even more comforting.

BEDU review: new head chef Ali Ahmadpour curates a colourful menu spotlighting the art of Persian cooking

On the day of our tasting, the chef’s special was this dish of lamb meatballs. The tender meatballs, slightly gamey but well seasoned, were bathed in a tomato-based sauce with a hint of spice.

BEDU review: new head chef Ali Ahmadpour curates a colourful menu spotlighting the art of Persian cooking

The grilled sea bass main is a simple preparation of grilled fish with green beans and cherry tomatoes, but it’s the accompanying hashoo sauce that elevates the dish. This silky, tangy sauce is a traditional Persian accompaniment to fish, made with coriander, garlic, and onion simmered with tamarind. Accompanying the fish is a dish of spiced rice flavoured with the rich earthiness of saffron, topped with morasab (a moreish blend of almond, barberry, and pistachio).

BEDU review: new head chef Ali Ahmadpour curates a colourful menu spotlighting the art of Persian cooking

For dessert, there’s a deconstructed baghlava (the Persian version of baklava) featuring thin, crisp sheets of filo pastry, chocolate cream, homemade pistachio ice cream, and caramelised banana. Whilst we enjoyed the union of the golden pastry with the deliciously aromatic ice cream with sizeable pistachio bits, the addition of banana and chocolate to the mix didn’t quite work for us. The final sweet was a hefty chocolate-covered date, taking us over the top.

Our verdict of Chef Ali’s new menu at BEDU

Chef Ali has made a smashing debut at BEDU, curating a menu where the authentic flavours of his Persian heritage are creatively and competently displayed. We’re happy to see that the restaurant is still going strong five years after its launch – no easy feat in post-pandemic Hong Kong – and we can’t wait to see what Chef Ali has in store for us next.

BEDU, 40 Gough Street, Central, WhatsApp 6343 5622, book here

Order this: lentil hummus, spinach nargesi, roasted eggplant, Persian prawns, lamb rack
Menu: BEDU menus
Price for two: HKD1,200–1,400
Atmosphere: lively open kitchen, warm, understated decor with dark wood and dim lighting, attentive service
Perfect for: romantic date nights with a difference

This review is intended to offer an individual perspective on the dining experience and should not be considered as a definitive judgement of the restaurant’s overall quality or reputation. The views expressed in this review are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions of Foodie.

Stephanie Pliakas is the Digital Editor of Foodie. From Michelin-starred fine-dining to the local comfort-food eats dished out at cha chaan tengs, she has immersed herself in the 852’s ever-changing food scene since making Hong Kong her home more than a decade ago. When Stephanie is not devouring something delicious, she’s cooking and baking up a storm at home (whilst listening to true crime podcasts).

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