You will feel like a Persian Princess or Prince at the new Sands of Persia café and hookah lounge in Astoria. This lush, Middle Eastern-style Lounge is reminiscent of a palace with plush velvet chairs in sultry shades of lavender and gray, centered around low tables for sipping exotic teas, coffees, juices, and sampling fine desserts. Gracious owner and entrepreneur Abhi Malhotra welcomes guests seven nights a week for light meals and fun in his luxurious establishment.
Sands of Persia opened in January 2022 and already draws a mature crowd who enjoy puffing on fruit-scented hookahs of all sizes and shapes while enjoying the many treats on the menu. House and world music plays on the sound system that allows for friendly conversation on the sofas. A lovely sidewalk patio is surrounded by greenery with bistro tables and Euro-style woven chairs.
Our polite server, Alice, greeted us and showed us the “call button” on the table to summon service at any time. She recommended we start with lychee tea and were so impressed when she arrived with a dainty pearl and gold-adorned tea pot and elegant teacups. What is more, the tea was simply delicious and there are other varieties including green tea, mint black tea, blueberry tea, and Caradon tea. The coffees are as rich as the cultures from where they originated with Arabic and Turkish “sand” coffees, brewed over hot sand and a special Sands of Persia cold coffee.
Sands of Persia specializes in hand- crafted desserts with a Middle Eastern flair that are perfect for pairing with tea or coffee. “Kanefa,” which resembles a bird’s nest, is composed of crunchy, fine pastry over a rosewater and honey-scented custard, sprinkled with pistachio crumble and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, resembling an egg in the nest. Very Instagramable indeed. The same is true for Persian Mars Mousse with layers of hazelnut mousse and rich, chocolate ganache sprinkled with crunchy caramel nibs and a scoop of coffee ice cream. The Royal Cleopatra tops a honey brioche pastry with slices of banana and strawberry, hazelnut chocolate cream, nuts, and whipped cream that is meant to be shared and enjoyed.
Enjoy light meals at Sands of Persia, all made to order. Fine ingredients and halal meats go into their chicken sandwich, juicy burger, and grilled cheese sandwiches served with truffle fries or spicy Masala fries. Fresh fruit juices such as the “Zeus” with orange and carrot juice, and the “Salina” with orange, apple, and carrot juice make a nice accompaniment. This summer, alcoholic beverages and bottle service will be available, and the evening goes on until 2am.
Sands of Persia offers hookahs in several sizes and designs, with nearly a dozen scented mixtures inside named Sultan with mango, coconut and mint, Aladdin, Jasmine, Persian Gulf, Eden’s Garden, and Sting of Scorpion with orange, grapefruit and lemon aroma. The menu is on their website and the QR code at each table describes all the aromatic choices.
Sands of Persia offers a sultry evening with light meals, desserts, exotic teas and coffees and a plush lounge in which to enjoy it. They’re open seven nights a week from 5pm to 2am with indoor and outdoor seating in the sidewalk café. Visit their website for Malhotra’s story, menus, and photos. Step into another world at Sands of Persia.
25-01 Steinway Street – Astoria – 718.540.6767