Shinwari, Ilford

I’m going to get straight to be point and tell you guys to get yourselves to this place…right now. I don’t know what it is about this place that I absolutely loved, but I will try to convince you.

Ever since I heard this place does floor seating, I’ve been wanting check it out. And it is just as I expected it. And wanted it to be. It’s just a completely different and relaxing feel. We were lucky enough to grab a slightly more secluded area of the restaurant and were hidden away. They do have one “special” fully curtained area but the rest is kind of just “you sit where you see a space”.

I have to admit, the service wasn’t all that. I felt a bit ignored and uncared for. But this was easily made up for by the food itself.

We ate:

  • shinwari chapli kebab: when I know this is on the  menu, it’s guaranteed that I will order it. I definitely did not regret this choice. Slightly oily, but yummy nevertheless.
  • chaloo kebab: slightly more subtle flavours compared to the chapli, but just as well made. This comes with a generous portion of rice (as a main).
  • shinwari chicken karahi: we ordered the half KG, as opposed to the 1KG, option. These guys are very generous with the portions. Between three of us, we still had leftovers. It’s not your normal karahi, it definitely had an Afghan twist on it. Very impressed.
  • shinwari dumphukt: I’m told this is an Afghani specialty and hence, I couldn’t resist ordering this. It’s very soupy, with tender, tender meat, potatoes and loaded with flavours that aren’t spice! Just how I like it!
  • naan: now, this is another reason I came here. They serve the naan on a giant skewer. And despite just how gigantic it is, it is STILL only 99p! Yes, I know! We only had to order ONE between the three of us

Now, on the menu, you are promised an Afghani Kahwa served with your food, I guess they must have forgot this for us, but we actually asked for it. And yes, it is complimentary. And to put it simply, I fell in love. It brought back all the smells of Saudi!

Oh, and did I mention this restaurant actually had a free cash machine INSIDE the place itself? So, no more of that caffuffle about who is going to pay who back. I bet you’re sold now.


Food – 4/5 –  Delicious. Now that I’ve convinced you to go,  I hope I’m not the only one who thinks this!

Service – 2.5/5 – I don’t know what it was, but I just felt a bit ‘unloved’. Especially when looking over at others, I knew they had their complimentary kahwa with their food, and we didn’t.

Value – 3.5/5 – So, overall, we spent about £15 per head, but this is without drinks and just one starter between us all. Although the portions are a good value,  I still think that considering the area, it is a bit on the high side.

Venue  – 4/5 – Floor seating! Need I say more? They even let you pray whenever and wherever you want. The only reason it’s not full marks is because it’s deceiving from the outside, and I’m not sure what the area with tables and chairs looks like.

SAS – 4/5 – relaxed atmosphere, delicious authentic Afghani food, floor seating, complimentary tea, satisfying!

Overall – 18/25

Review by: Azzizi

Address: 229 Cranbrook Rd, Ilford, Essex County IG1 4TD

Telephone number: 020 8554 2022