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Entracte: A Chic place to Brunch in the Center of Tehran

08/08/08 By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

I have loved cinema since I was a child and when in summer days I was taken to one of the few open-air cinemas in Tehran, where they used to show films on the roof of the cinema, then it was a double delight.

I lived in Montreal for a few months and besides the cinema De Parc and my long walks in that beautiful green city I loved brunching there.  When I was a student in the UK and I lived with a few other girls in an apartment near the university, we used to throw brunch parties and invited friends and professors alike to join us on Sundays.  With my sister Sohaila and later with my husband Paul, after we got married and he moved to Tehran, we gave a few long and very successful brunch parties in Tehran which was the first time for many of our friends and family who came.

So I have always had a thing about brunches and so I was delighted to learn that there was this new place that serves brunches downtown, and where else was it but the very cinema that I used to go as a child in love with movies; in those days it was called the Niagara and now it is called the Jomhouri (Republic).

I had not been there for many years, and on the few occasions that I had passed by, I had not noticed it.  We went there a few weeks ago and at first it felt almost weird after so many years walking up those same grand stairs to the first floor where Café Entracte is now located. So many memories and so much nostalgia came into my mind that I was completely overwhelmed but as we got to the top of the stairs, the peace and warmth of the place made me feel safe and back in this universe again.

It felt warm because most of the furniture was old wood and the simple and casual use of old types of furniture, prints and other items along with a mixture of many objects and elements of modernity made you feel that you just walked into your dear old aunties house with whom you have so much in common, and it felt safe because it was so far away from the madding crowd and you could sit and sip your tea or coffee and listen to good music, read the paper, have a bite to eat and leave the crazy traffic and pollution and noise far behind.

They serve brunch only on Fridays so a couple of times we went there with some visiting old friends to sample it.  The brunch is set up as a buffet from which you can choose anything you like.  There are some western taste such as cornflakes and Iranian dishes such as adassi (cooked green lentils) and shirberenj (rice pudding), a choice of juices and fruit salad as well as fried sausages, and ham and scrambled eggs.  The brunch includes tea and coffee and is available for 8000 toman ($8) which is affordable for most.


On weekdays they make very nice and light pancakes with different fillings or pasta.  Every time I have been there I have met many young friends and artists, it is usually full of students, artists and other young people or those like us young at heart.  On our last visit we met the famous young lady of Iranian Cinema Ms Leila Hatemi who runs the place with her husband actor Ali Mosafa who told us that soon they may do special lunches on Thursdays.  We suggest booking a table on Fridays and by the way on Wednesday afternoons with the cooperation of Hermes Records they play different types of music from different countries which has proven to be very popular and can be most delightful and educational for your musical ear.  When you go there please remember that it is more about the ambience than anything else.

If you are ever in Jomhouri Ave., just before Felestin Street and you want a bite to eat or a nice cup of tea/coffee and chill out then give Entracte a try and find out for yourself.

Top floor, Cinema Jomhouri, Between Aboureyhan and Felestin streets, Jomhouri Ave., Tehran
Telephone 66463293

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