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Kay's House of Treats: Saffron - New Menu Tasting

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Saffron - New Menu Tasting

Just a few days ago, I was invited to a tasting of Saffron's new menu at lunch. This was actually the first time that I went to Saffron and what struck me the moment I entered was the beautiful ambiance; the outside seating/reception area is done in a traditional style and reminded me of like this Mughlai setting with the fountain at the entrance; lush green plants, wooden tiles on the walls, the jhoola & twisting staircase in the background and the carved wooden doors leading into the restaurant. The interior of the restaurant was done in the same traditional notes with lots of carved wood accents on the walls, antique furniture and other unique pieces tastefully placed around the restaurant.
The theme behind the tasting was that Saffron is introducing Hyderabadi cuisine from Nano's Hangout and their new menu will be a mix of both continental as well as traditional Desi cuisine. The flow of the tasting was similarly choreographed with one traditional dish being served along with a similar yet contrasting continental dish. For example, in the appetizer round, there were Chilli Prawns from Saffron's menu with Bhagarey Jhingey (Tempered Prawns|) from Nano's Hangout. I found the Chilli Prawns to taste better as they carried more of a punch and contrasted with the crunch of the pastry shell in which they were served; however, loved the presentation of the Bhagharay Jhingay served with saffron rice and green chutney.

The idea of introducing Hyderabadi cuisine courtesy Nano's Hangout seems to be a good move for Saffron leading them to diversify their menu thus catering to different taste, but it should ensure that they retain the focus on their core menu. I just feel that when a restaurant tries to offer multiple cuisines on their menu, then it becomes a hodgepodge a flavors because there is too much going on, so this collaboration should benefit both places as Nano's Hangout is already considered an expert in Hyderabadi cuisine.

What surprised me the most about the menu was how much I enjoyed the sea food in the menu, especially the two types of fish followed by the prawns. In terms of personal preference, I am very much a chicken person, and almost always prefer chicken to seafood dishes. But here the Jalapeno Chicken paled in comparison to the Snapper in Lemon Butter Sauce which was absolutely delicious; definitely an item that would make me reconsider my confirmed habit of ordering chicken at restaurants. Other than these two items, they also served Chicken Pasanday which tasted exactly like my mother makes at home and Hyderabadi fish, which was good but the snapper was just amazing.

As far as the Hyderabadi dishes from Nano's Hangout were considered, the Bhagaray Baingan (Eggplants stuffed with a paste consisting of nuts & spices served with a rich & creamy gravy) were absolutely delicious especially with the saffron rice that was served as an accompaniment. I am still not a person who would go to a fine dining establishment just to have Desi food, however, this is a good option for taking parents or elders who would like having traditional food whereas we can order our continental food items.
The last course was the dessert which was the Saffron Special Cake along with the Khubani ka Meetha and here I have to say that cake was just delicious; it was just a beautiful white cake with just the right amount of sweetness from the cream and lots of crunch to add texture; loved every bite of it and I just wish there was more.
All in all, a great event which started promptly on time (resulting in me missing out on tasting some of the appetizers since I was running a bit late) with delicious food and excellent hospitality shown by the hosts.

1. Please note that this was an invitation event, hence can only be considered as a description of the food and the event and cannot be considered as a true review of the restaurant food and service.
2. Please also note that all the pictures are courtesy Xenith Digital (as mentioned on the photos);

For reference, a list of all the items served at the tasting is as follows:
1. Apple Carrot Juice
2. Mezze Platter & Shami Kebab
3. Seafood Chowder with Daal (Lentil) Soup
4. Chilli Prawns with Bhagarey Jhingey
5. Jalapeno Chicken with Chicken Pasandey
6. Snapper in Lemon Butter Sauce with Hyderabadi Fish
7. Nargisi Koftay (Boiled Eggs stuffed inside a shell of ground lamb mixed with spices) & Bhagaray Baighan
8. Saffron Rice with Mashed Potatoes
9. Batata Wada (Potato Fritters)
10. Saffron Special Cake with Khubani ka Meetha (Traditional Dessert made with Apricots)



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