TimeOut London Eating & Drinking 2013
Not to be confused with Mazar, arrival eatery across the road, Masa has long set the standard for the food of Afghanistan, a landlocked country which takes it s culinary cues from its numerous neighbours. The kebabs are spiced like those in Pakistan, the pastas dishes originated in China and Uzbekistan, and the meza-style dips can also be found in Iran. These dips, know as bourani, were excellent; the fresh and flavoursome aubergine, spinach and courgette dishes topped with quroot (a slightly sour whey) are designed to be mopped up soft, fluffy blankets of nan bread. The mains where impressive too. The national dish, qabali pilau, was a generous portion of moist pilau rice with almonds carrots, raisins and lamb that fell from the bone. A lighter alternative is ashak, leek dumplings covered in yoghurt and minced meat. There's no alcohol licence, but there is dough, a carbonated yoghurt drink made with cucumber and mint, similar to Indian lassi. The good food, low prices and cheery service are some what undermined the cold, formal atmosphere. A single chandelier hangs above a heavy wooden furniture and television is preferred to Afghan music.