Sarab restaurant

14 years ago...

Just had a very disappointing experience at Sarab. The restaurant always looks busy so we thought we'd give it a try but.........

1) It's very cramped
2) The food was awful
3) The staff were grumpy
4) Our food order was wrong
5) The main course arrived before we finished our starter despite asking the waitress to hold on to it for a few minutes
6) The bill was wrong (over charged)
7) And....worst of all.....the place is full of REALLY drunk estate rats!

We'd thoroughly recommend Sarab for anyone who isn't hungry and fancies pretending to be an extra on Eastenders!


We have visited the restaurant with my family last weekend, the placed was fully booked, the food was delicious, the staff were very attending and I have to say the portions were large and it was worth my money!! The new owner was present and his was talking to us about the history of this restaurant and Persian food. They are also receiving shortly their licence to sell alcohol soon, which we will miss our BYO bottle of wine, but great news this place is again running! Fully recommend and we will be definitively coming back.

Delicious food! We have enjoyed our selfs tonight! new owner of Sarab made some improvements and we can't wait to go back! :-)

Re-opening by the looks of it.....just received a local residents licensing notification in the post. Not sure if it's still Sarab or a new venture but good news either way

Seems to be closed up. Mail piling up at door and crockery still on tables. Looks like they left in a hurry?

The only thing that surprises me about this is that they managed to keep going as long as they did

According to the friendly chaps in Liqourbins next door, the owner fell ill and decided to retire. I'm gutted. It was easily one of the best restaurants in Surbiton.

I'd imagine that the place remains untouched as there's no rush to move anything. They've probably got months left on their lease.

I don't know the grumpy person who wrote the review before me, but was obviously a miserable person. I love the Sarab, great food, great service, you can bring your own drink, staff are great. Yes the place get crowded, but that's because it great food. I most certainly didn't see any drunks or estate rats. Maybe I was lucky that the above patron was not present on that night. Love going there, will be going again soon.

We think that Sarab is terrific and are regular diners there. The food is always fresh and nicely prepared and the staff are delightful. The children are always asked to make bread which they love and breadth of the menu suits everyone. It is busy because it is great.

We ate at this restaurant last night. It was a very nice evening. Nice atmosphere, great service and amazing food. Plus the price was very reasonable. I highly recommend this restaurant and will be coming back for more :-)

The food is good but the service depends. The guys who runs it is a very pleasant chap, very friendly. The woman however can be a nightmare. If shes in a mood then you'll kow about it. If her friends are in the restaurant , you will be waiting ages till your bill gets to your table, you'll be completely ignored. All in all it got so bad that we decided to only get takeaway which is a shame as it used to be a nice place to sit down and eat. However even takeaway you would sometimes get a moody response from the woman when you come to collect. We just had enough of it, So we've decided to go back to Alounak, a little further away of course in Olympia but quite quick if you drive. Plus the business is appreciated as opposed to what we felt toward the end of our relationship with Sarab.

I concurr. Whilst I rate this restaurant with it's great food, BYOB, and oven and decor, that woman can be very moody indeed. Last visit we got a gruff "neutral" service.

Do not believe any of the rubbish reviews on here, I feel entirely that they are malicious and inaccurate. We went along tonight having read these reviews, myself feeling sceptical about the authenticity of the reviews, and my partner not expecting much. I can honestly say the food was _sensational_! The gentleman who served us was genteel and polite, while the food itself was hands down outstanding. We tried several starters outside our normal comfort zone and were more than pleasantly surprised to find them delicious. Our man course was fall-apart tender and succulent. On top of that it is BYO and extremely reasonably priced. We will be back again and again and again!

We went to this ''restaurant'' Friday 21 Oct 2011 found 2 teenager and an a mature woman as the staff of the evening. The boys just looked like lost sheep and the woman was very rude and up herself but she managed to get our order . We have been in this place few times before but lately they expanded into the next door with another Lebanese restaurant too. For some reason one is now closed and they are back to the ''old'' premises with the wrongly spelled name of ''Bairut'' !? The menu is now mixed Persian and Lebanese .
The quality of food is gone right down and the one important Kebab(BARG) no longer served and the prices have nearly doubled in the past few months and add to the misery the already so so service is down to a miserable level ! There is this oven right in the seating area for baking fresh bread but the heat from it makes you feel as though one is dining in a sauna or in this case a hell since it is very small room and the tables 2inches apart! Fortunately ,on this evening, due to ''gas problem'' (we were told) the oven was off and as result no freshly baked bread which was welcomed at first but as we sat down for few minutes felt a cold draught !!
Summary : A DO NOT GO RESTAURANT if aiming to enjoy food ,atmosphere or indeed service . I certainly will not be going back to Sarab which incidentally means Mirage in English how apt !!

Would this recent slew of negative reviews of Sarab have anything to do with the new Italian that is opening in Sarab's recently vacated premises next door, I wonder? Getting the digs in to try and take business off the hugely successful established restaurant next door?

Ignore them, Sarab is constantly brilliant. I smell foul play. Also, good luck opening yet another Italian in Surbiton. You ain't going to be able to compete with Da Luca, Pizza Express and Zizzi.

Da Lucio, Pizza Express and Zizzi are all in Surbiton 'proper' and this place is nearer to Tolworth. There were still plenty of Italian restaurants there as well last time I checked!

Well, if this is from the new Italian then they've got their work cut out - with the local competition - just across the road and up a bit is the Sorento and up Ewell next to the Raj is the Positano and just across the road from that one is the Casa Viva - all fabulous Italian resturants and with local returning custom. I don't think there's room for another. It might be worth checking the reviews for these 3 restaurants to see if any other "anonymous" has slagged them off too.

We recently booked this restaurant out for a hen do and can safely say of the 19 of us that attended the event, none of us will ever be going back. We were rushed through our dinner despite having booked it for 3 hours - The owners became very rude towards us, and shortly after ordering our food they began trying to clear it up whilst we were still eating. They then proceeded to give away some of our tables WHILST we were still sat at them eating. We lost 2 tables to other people when we should have had another 45 minutes at the restaurant. After we were pretty much kicked out of the restaurant they then tried to charge us a whacked up 20% service charge...Sure we would have paid if the service had been great but it wasn't. We were made to feel incredibly unwelcome.

Sure, go for a meal there...But don't hold an event there.

Food was okay, but the best thing is that you can bring your own alcohol.

I would never recommend this restaurant. Absolutely atrocious service, I ordered a pineapple juice (which tasted of melon, because there was a large group to cater for I assume the same jug was used without it being washed) when I asked the waitress to change my drink I was shouted at and scolded repeatedly that I didn't know what pineapple tasted like! As if that wasn’t bad enough I was further addressed by the restaurant owner’s wife in the same abhorrent way!!
And the food…………………….absolutely nothing to write home about, not the best quality and the meat was not fresh and definitely not worthy the disgusting abuse!! Service is ghastly.............I'm surprised the restaurant still exists!!!

Actually I think it has now closed down...

I really hope it hasn't. I know they had to move back into the old venue next door but it looked like they were still trading...

I'll be very sad if it closes, it's a great place run by lovely people.

No, what's happened is they've aquired the venue next door and morphed itself into a "Lebanese and Persian" cuisene restaurant, and the old venue is now an indoor extention to the new restaurant. Same staff. Same family-run.

there's a sign up now saying Italian restaurant opening soon

Another Anonymous hater. Hmmmm, fishy.

Who the h**l wrote the review that comes up on search. The restaurant is a wonderful, happy place with great food and really doesn't justify that kind of roasting. Hidden agenda perhaps?

I have always returned to this place even when I live 20 miles away. The staff are friendly as its a family run business. The food is excellent and so is the price. I really like the grape tree at the fornt which makes the place more pleasant in appearance from the outside. The Interior deco is authentic Persian and it feels like you're eating in a home. Great all around.
When they are busy there can be a small delay but nothing to put me off the great food.

Can't believe that this review from two years ago is the first one that comes up! I am a Sarab regular, often taking friends and family there as it offers excellent value for money, with huge portions of great food. The service is always friendly and we are always made to feel welcome. We ate there only the other night and feasted on some great skewered lamb and rice. The fact that you can BYOB means that the bill is reasonable. I would (and have) recommend (-ed) this restaurant every time!

We go to Sarab frequently and find the food and service excellent each time. It's lovely to have a traditional family-run restaurant where the owners care about their customers, remember them, and take time to talk to them.

Well me and GF went there a couple of week ago on a Friday evening.
Packed, buzzy atmosphere, lovely warm welcome from the staff and great food.

Will definitely be going back.

Went there last night with friends and had an excellent meal! Good news is that they are opening a Lebanese restaurant next door, so there will be two great restaurants to visit! Well worth the visit, and offers something different from the usual Italian, Indian mix. Also they undercharged us, and when we pointed it out to them they said not to worry! Will be back!

I am really shocked by the comment above, not only is it a huge contrast to my experience but is also quite offensive. I'm suprised whoever wrote this didn't feel the need to express the fact that the restaurant was run by Muslims !! Our experience (14 of us, none who live on an estate but some who may have in their youth but have gone on to do great things :-)
1 Staff were friendly, smiley and polite, something you gain from being the same to them!
2 The food was simple spiced meats, salad and rice, very very tasty and excellent value.
3 There were no extras from Eastenders !! :-)

On the down side there were a few bigoted grumpy people who were obviously educated at private school had a very charmed up bringing and find it hard to mix :-)

I am not sure about the authenticity of the food, but everything else about the food and place is great. The BYOB really keeps the expense of a good meal out down.
Love the open oven!

My wife and I first came across Sarab over three years ago and have been going back there ever since, even though we have now moved out of Surbiton. The owner is very welcoming and the food is exquisite. We have taken friends there and some of them are now "regulars" too.

I can't believe this is the same restaurant we know and really enjoy on a regular basis. It is in a great location and offers good,rustic food in a very friendly, relaxed environment. The restaurant has moved to premises next door to the original and is always lovely and warm with the bread oven in full production!
Grab a bottle and go try! Great place.

I'm amazed by this comment! We love Sarab, the owner and staff are so friendly - we always find we are absolutely full to bursting when we leave - if you have a starter you only really need 1 kebab between 2. The food is not gourmet - it is simple food but a lovely friendly atmosphere. Never seen any drunk estate rats - perhaps it was me!!

I went to this restaurant last night, it is such a lovely place, the staff are really friendly and the food is amazing, it will change the way I serve rice from now on.

This is a local family run restaurant with a friendly owner, who has always accomodated my family and young boy aged 3.

Yes it is a cramped place, but with a homely feel and simple, fresh food on the menu for the most sensitive of tummys. I treat this restaurant as 'home cooked food on the day you just don't want to cook' .
I think you hav misconstrued 'grumpy', with the slightly fazed nature of the owners when the restaurant is busy. They always try to accomodate you. I suggest you try this place during the week or off -peak and get to know the staff.

Plus it's best in summer for outdoor seating and my son loves to see staff baking bread on the restaurant floor in a Persian oven.

i agree im persian and i thought the food and atmosphere was horrible, staff are really grumpy and its too expensive ! waste of time, shame reaaly if it was good i would of been back again but its NOT!

Bizarre. Were the first two posters sure they were even in Sarab? I ate there a month ago and completely disagree with all of their comments. In fact, the reason I've stumbled across this thread is because I wanted to recommend Sarab to a friend. I'm not an expert on Persian food, but what I ate at Sarab was great, tasty and reasonably priced. I admit, it's not the prettiest of restaurants inside. But personally, as long as there's not mud on the floor and faeces on the walls then I couldn't care less about the decor of a restaurant. As long as the food is good, the company is good and the service is relaxed. That's what counts.

I had a very disappointing experience there!! I love persian food and tried so many of them but my meal at sarab was awful, and i had to stuff myself with bread, even the starters werent good enough compare to other persian restaurants i've been to, but the bread was nice and staffs were friendly.


I have been to Sarab twice and I have nothing but praise for it. The food is great and so are the staff and being able to take your own drink makes the whole experience less expensive than usual. I particularly like the freshly baked bread which you can see them preparing and baking. It will improve again if they have more space. I have never seen anyone drunk there and I can't identify with anything the opening poster says about the place so I am wondering whether he has got it mixed up with somewhere else that he frequents!!

Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience.

I have been eaten there on a couple of occasions and both times very the very opposite.
• Great food
• Helpful staff
• Correct bill

I could go on.... also BYO reduces the bill by about 50% and no corkage fee!!!!!

As for the estate rats as you so nicely put it. Are you sure YOU hadn't had a few to many and were in fact in KFC??

I'm also surprised by your experience. I live about a 2 minute walk from Sarab so go there frequently and have to say that while it is uncomfortably cramped at times, I've got nothing but praise for the staff and the food.

It looks like they might have taken over the neighbouring property although not much seems to be happening lately. Does anyone what is going on there?

I drove past it this morning and the next door property was all set up with tables and chairs so it looks ready for use.

I believe they are or have expanded, I had a lovely meal there last month with my eldest sister and my mother ,
very friendly staff, nice simple good honest food. We look forward to returning soon.

I too am very suprised by the first posters comments, I have been going there for about three years and the food has always been great.

I love the fact you can BYO.

I have been there with large family groups and it has never felt cramped and I havent ever been aware of drunken groups frequenting it as a venue.

I'm also surprised by the negative comments. We live very near the restaurant, go there often (every week) and have always had a great time there. It's simple food, well prepared - exactly what we like - and I've tried everything on the menu at least once and never been disappointed! The lamb shank (Sunday special) is incredible, falls off the bone.

This place is simply superb. The lamb is ridiculously good, really tender and moist. The family who run it are great, all charming, friendly and full of knowledge about the food. Add that to the cooked-in-front-of-you naanbreads and the fact you can BYO from the very well-stocked offy next door and you have one of the best restaurants in town. Excellent value too.

Maybe the negative reviews were from rival restaurants?

actually, if it is an attempt to discredit Sarab by rivals then it's backfired quite spectacularly with all the praise that has followed. Sarab - you rock!

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