Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Kimia Lounge not for the casual

Kimia Lounge is an evening experience. An experience of life’s simple pleasures and passions: fine wine and spirits, cuisine, company and atmosphere. Located at 14 W. Mifflin St. on Capitol Square, the upscale bar and restaurant offers fine historical decor, live music, an extensive wine list and a selective palate of exotic food. Kimia Lounge affordably caters to those who enjoy the finer things in life.

With a dress code, Kimia Lounge isn’t for the casual crowd. It’s not strict, but high fashion and class are expected. Ladies have the opportunity to exhibit their sleek and sophisticated ensembles. Men also are expected to appear in casual chic apparel. Although ties are not required, collared shirts and sweaters are recommended.

Kami Eshraghi, owner of Kimia Lounge, explains the dress code as a respect courtesy rather than as something that excludes customers from the establishment: “I want my clientele to feel comfortable in their surroundings. The people that come here are part of the atmosphere, and we don’t want obnoxious people yelling profanities in this establishment.”


Eshraghi opened Kimia Lounge in late September, inspired by his passion for history. The restaurant follows the historical incidence of the Silk Road on which caravans carrying spices, fruits and silk traveled among Rome, Persia and China between 138 B.C. and the 14th century. The food, wine, and décor are entirely inspired by this history.

Eshraghi, raised in Europe, explains his personal inspiration of Kimia: “I’m a history buff … I am passionate about history, because it is unique and human-inspired. This is all how we became who we are today. The Silk Road is a perfect example of the growth of mankind.”

Kimia’s lounging rooms follow the ancient Persian, Roman and Chinese theme of the décor. Each room consists of beds covered in plush rugs and large soft pillows. It is the perfect opportunity to kick off your shoes, nestle into a bed of pillows and sample a martini while enjoying the ancient art replicas of Venus or the Three Graces. The décor is enhanced by soft contemporary jazz. The experience is entirely exhilarating.

I felt like a princess sipping a martini surrounded by delicate ancient art in the saffron-colored Roman room. Immediately, a golden silk sarong was brought to preserve female modesty. The staff was especially attentive and professional.

From the antelope horns shaped into caviar spoons (metal should never touch caviar!) to the traditional Persian serving dishes to the beautiful edible orchids garnishing the dessert plates, not a single detail was overlooked.

After I finished my pre-dinner Caspian Blue martini, raspberry vodka dashed with courage for $7, I decided to experience my appetizers in the unique whisper domes. These domes are a simple ancient creation, which is perfect for conversation. These domes are accurately constructed for the occupants to be exposed yet private.

Sound travels uniquely in these domes so that the person across from you can hear soft whispers. People outside the dome, however, are unable to hear any conversation. They are perfect for romantic conversations and whispered sweet-nothings.

To start, I sampled Kimia Lounge’s beluga-and-soy caviar. The caviar is served with bellinis (small pancakes) and a variety of crackers and accompanied by fresh lemon, scallions and créme fraiche.

Eshraghi is especially concerned that his caviar choices are harvested according to the U.N. guidelines. Only the finest caviar is served at Kimia Lounge, and none of the host sturgeons are illegally harvested. The bread-and-cheese appetizer is accompanied with herbs, cheese and melons. The combination of feta cheese, mixed greens and French bread is a simple yet tasty start to any meal.

The Kimia Lounge is particularly interested in the origin of the recipes offered on the menu. Each item has carefully been selected and fits some sort of historical context. The menu claims the cuisine is designed to be reflective of the geographical path of the Silk Road and its rich cultures and civilizations. It is easy to eat like a king or queen at the Kimia Lounge. Each entrée was a particular favorite of ancient royalty.

To experience dining by the babbling brook, we moved to the intimate dining area to indulge in the full menu. I ordered the Mahi entrée, ($17) which consists of rainbow trout accompanied with Kimia’s specialty dill-and-saffron rice. The fish comes complete with the head attached yet completely boneless. The tender fish was perfectly prepared and accompanied the dill-and-saffron flavors brilliantly.

My dinner companion ordered the Shish Kebab ($13). This entrée includes six cubes of tenderized lamb served over saffron rice accompanied by a medley of lightly buttered and grilled peppers, zucchini, onions and tomato. The lamb was perfectly prepared, and the tender meat practically melted in her mouth.

To end a wonderful meal, we indulged in the Mandorla, tartlets of almonds and honey-kissed caramel for $8 and Bamieh, which is a pastry-like, light, honey dessert glazed with condensed rose water for $6.

The climax of the evening came with the Kimia cake, a dense chocolate cake smothered in silky ganauche and sprinkled with real 24-karat gold powder for $10. This dessert was an amazingly almost-orgasmic experience. My mouth still salivates at the thought.

If that weren’t enough, I sipped on imported pear cognac and smoked a hand-rolled cigar as my body melted into the soft leather couches while I admired the luminous view of the State Capitol. Beautiful.

All in all, the Kimia Lounge experience was wonderful. Walking into the lounge, one will surround oneself with art, ancient history, savory food, fine drinks, unique atmosphere and sophisticated company all available in downtown Madison at an affordable price. Even students can afford to indulge.

“I’m giving credit that Madisonians like the finer things in life. So far, they are proving me right.” Eshraghi says.

Kimia Lounge is a wonderful addition to downtown Madison’s fine dining and drinking. There is no need to travel to Manhattan or South Beach in search of a quality staff, cuisine, cocktails and atmosphere. Kimia Lounge is as good as gold.

Kimia Lounge is located at 14 W. Mifflin St., on Capitol Square. Hours are 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily. Prices range from $12 to $15 for a light dinner with side dishes. Reservations and credit cards are accepted.

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