Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has been mostly hidden from the rest of the world. Our art, culture, and saddest of all, our food, has become virtually unknown. By presenting a series of concept restaurants, reversing that trend was what the founders of the Monsoon Group set out to do. With the opening of its first restaurant, Monsoon, in 1998, the group started its legacy as pioneers of gastronomy and hospitality in a city where those concepts had been long forgotten. In its trendy and stylish setting, Monsoon was an instant success with a menu that blended the best of South East Asian cuisine in the heart of Tehran. Its enduring success, a decade and a half after opening, is a testament to strength of the restaurant’s original concept. Following that initial success the founders filled another gap in Tehran’s dining scene. Boulevard brought back a taste of France to the city, which had been missing for 20 years. In recent years the Monsoon Group expanded its brand to include several more of the most beloved restaurants in Tehran. BIX and Terrace were a response to the California cuisine than many Iranians who returned from abroad deeply craved. After years of innovation, with the range of cuisines and concepts it brought, culminated with the Monsoon group’s latest creation: Divan, the ultimate Persian dining experience.
Legacy of Empire
The long and rich history of Iranian cooking dates back to the 6th Century BC, when Cyrus the Great, the fearless leader of a tribe called the Pars (Persians) built an empire that eventually stretched to India and Egypt and the borders of Greece. This vast and unified territory was known as a conduit of cultures and cuisines, and the ingredients that still form the basis of Persian food spread throughout the empire. The Persians traded with the kingdoms of the Far East, bringing rice, eggplant and a variety of other fruits and vegetables from China to the Middle East on the famed Silk Road. Even after the Persian Empire fell, future conquerors were mesmerized by the rich flavors of Persian cooking. In the second millennium AD, Persian cuisine flourished along with the other magnificent aspects of our culture like poetry and architecture. All of those influences found their way to the empires of their time in India and Turkey. The cuisine of Persia continued to thrive internationally into the 20th Century until 1979 when the country was mostly cut off from the rest of the world. Divan’s vision is to re-introduce this illustrious cuisine to a sophisticated global clientele and begin a renaissance in Persian pleasure.
Little known in the West, Persian food is one of the most important and influential cuisines of the world. With over 2500 years of tradition, the flavors of Persian recipes are complex marriages of vision and time honored practices that have resulted in a culinary tradition that is uniquely itself. Persian cooking is a time consuming art that requires deep preparation and patience. Its flavors, practices and presentation are inextricably linked with the culture and traditions of this ancient land. More subtle than the heat driven cuisines of East Asia or the meat heavy foods of its neighbors to the West, the culinary tradition of Iran is known for its combinations of sweet and sour and its generous use of fresh herbs and spices. The best Persian restaurants are a journey of the senses into this rich culture that still pulsates with innovation and passion. Our sincere wish is that every guest to Divan experiences that magical feeling.