Saffron Kitchen 3.5/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3.5/5
VENUE & ATMOSPHERE: 4/5
Note: Alcohol is not served on the premises. All meat is halal (HMC certified).
It was done. Just the night before with a lot of help from my friend Greekie, I had printed, bound and handed in all 375 pages of my thesis. The burden was lifted (until the viva). It was time to leave the city I loved to return to my family and the hustle and bustle of London. All this was in time for our long awaited trip to Fez, Morocco. After months of losing sleep due to the stress of writing, it was a welcomed break before the next dreaded stress began – job applications.
Due to my Indian roots, one may presume that I love to grab some desi delights on a regular basis. However, much to the dismay of ShakerFries, I would much rather grab a portion of jerk chicken, rice and peas or a Chinese take away over desi khana any day (shock horror). Consequently, on this occasion, ShakerFries was somewhat taken aback at my strong preference for Indian food. However, having visited Morocco twice before, I knew that the next week would be filled with tagine and skewers, hence why Indian food the night before our departure seemed appealing. I also have a soft spot for Saffron Kitchen in particular, as this was the restaurant where our engagement was held, and the food was incredibly tasty on that occassion.
We had to wait 10 minutes or so for a table, but it was a Saturday and we’ve waited longer before, so I was quite pleased with that waiting time. As soon as we sat down I had a fair idea of what I wanted. Nobody stopped me as I proceeded to order chana papdi chaat, chilli paneer, tandoori chicken leg, lamb chops and lamb biryani with kadhai murgh chicken and naan bread (Phew!).
Following our mammoth order, we waited…and waited…and waited some more.. until finally our starters trickled towards our table, at which point ShakerFries decides to order a second portion of lamb chops (which unlike the other food surprisingly arrived in a timely fashion).
Although the service was yet to be desired, the food itself did not disappoint. The chana papdi chaat was tangy and surprisingly spicy. I prefer my chaat to be a bit more on the sweet side (i.e. more tamarind sauce), however I still enjoyed this starter and the papdi was fresh with a lovely crunch. The tandoori chicken leg was tasty and tender however wasn’t anything to write home about. The lamb biryani was also incredibly flavoursome with succulent chunks of lamb, however was tear jerkingly spicy, and contained a bit too much garam masala for my taste. Consequently, I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for those with a more sensitive palate (and stomach). Let’s just say thank God for the jug of sweet smooth mango lassi.
The star(s) of the show for me were the chilli paneer and lamb chops. The lamb chops were marinated a perfect blend of spices, chilli and salt, and each one was huge and meaty, with just the right amount of fat marbled through. The taste of each chop was mind-blowing fragrant, juicy, and spicy. Not only were they charred to perfection, but were tender all the way through, so much so that the meat melted in your mouth. In true lady-like fashion, I was left chewing the bone. Next up was the incredibly generous portion of chilli paneer. Served in what I can only describe as a small tin bucket, I was impressed by the taste of the spicy, tangy, indo-chinese garlic sauce which smothered each soft cube of paneer. Unfortunately, I can’t comment on the taste of the chicken kadhai because as usual by the time I had sampled all the other dishes I was bursting at the seams and couldn’t bear to consume another morsel.
That being said, I somehow had room for dessert… well it was red velvet cookie dough and coconut ice cream so how could I refuse? To be fair this one dessert was shared between the four of us. All four us also agreed that this was one of the more original tasting desserts we had tried. The cookie dough was piping hot, gooey, and chocolatey, which complemented the coolness of the refreshing coconut ice-cream perfectly.
The service on this occasion was a little disappointing considering the food was pretty great. That being said we didn’t have a long waiting time for a table on this occasion, and I have been happy with their service previously, so perhaps it was just an ‘off’ day. The overall cost between four of us was around £89, which is a little pricey, but considering the amount of food we ordered and the generous portion sizes I would say it was good value for money. If you’re in the mood for something tasty and spicy, visit Saffron Kitchen. It’s definitely one of the better options when you’re in the mood for some authentic Indian food.
300. Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, London E10 7LD