Three sisters flee Iraq in the midst of political and personal turmoil and settle in a quaint little Irish town called Ballinacroagh.
Reminiscent of Joanne Harris’s Chocolat, the sisters open The Babylon Café serving exquisitely created Iranian fare that transcends the bland local offering. Gradually, they win over the jolly Father Ferber Mahoney and a number of his merry followers, all inexplicably drawn to the café’s sublime and exotic aromas.
Not everyone, however, is entranced by their instant success – least of all the town bully, Thomas McGuire, who monopolises local business with his scare tactics. He also harbours a deep desire to take over The Babylon Café for the creation of a tacky disco.
The past also threatens to haunt the sisters and brings an insidious darkness to the fresh start they hope for. Each chapter begins with a recipe and by the end, the reader can almost taste the plump ‘elephant ears’ – pastries dusted in sugar and cinnamon, the heady aroma of abgusht – a rich, clear broth made with lamb, vegetables and lashing of exotic herbs and spices – and of course, the fragrant blend of Pomegranate Soup.
A gastronomical read that left my mouth watering – and my stomach begging me to seek out a little Middle Eastern café tucked away in my own city.
A feast of the senses!
Published by Harper Collins