Monday, February 25, 2013

Generally good value at Saffron Indian Cuisine

Saffron Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon It's hard to find an Indian restaurant in the Lower Mainland that screws up North Indian curry dishes (but not impossible) so it's quite hard for any Indian restaurant to come out as "the best". But if there's no real competition locally then you can easily come out tops. And Saffron Indian Cuisine is in the perfect location for exactly that. There's Sai Tanvi not too far away across the street, but their speciality is South Indian cuisine.

Prices here felt expensive for the appetizers, but good value for the curry mains, which were rich and thick with ingredients rather than soupy with just sauce.

For value, I recommend skipping the appetizers and going straight for curries to share. And if you want to fit in more curry rather than look to be stuffed silly, ask for naan instead of rice as that is less filling. You can, however, get leftovers to go.
Since the curries are generally a safe and delicious choice and there wasn't anything either outstanding or surprisingly bad, I'll mention some of the other items at our table:

Papri Chaat ($6.50) Crisp flour wafers topped with potatoes, chickpeas, yogurt with tamarind & mint chutney
  • Looked like the only cold appetizer at our table. The last time I had a cold Indian appy was at Bombay Beat.
  • Nothing spicy here, just a cool, crunchy, chunky appetizer. For $6.50, this was a pretty big bowl that could have made a light to medium meal all on its own.
  • Fairly tasty, and interesting to try. Not enough chutney to really make itself known, however.
Channa Bhatura ($6.95) Leavened deep fired bread served with curried chickpeas, mixed pickles and onions
  • Turned out pretty boring. Curried chickpeas were nothing special. Mixed pickles and onions were somewhat sour but also very salty.
  • The bread was two thin flatbreads, big but also very light.
Panner Pakoras ($8.50) Indian style paneer coated in a crispy seasoned batter
  • A rather small amount for $8.50.
  • Rather bland tasting. There was some green stuff in between the two slices of cheese but whatever it was, there wasn't enough of it to contribute any flavour.
  • You may have seen deep fried or pan fried cheese dishes elsewhere that come out gooey or outright melted. This isn't like that. The paneer is still firm like a heavy tofu.
Spinach & Paneer Naan ($3.50)
  • Basically a naan with a generous amount of paneer and spinach embedded in it.
  • Strangely bland and not worth it for the extra $2 compared to their regular naan ($1.50).
Saffron Thali ($18.95) Butter Chicken, Lamb Curry, Chicken Tikka, Maharani Daal, Rice, Raita with Naan & Gulab Jamun or Kheer

  • Strangely, the couple of thalis that were ordered at our table turned out somewhat badly, with reports of watery curry and not a lot of meat to them, apparently. Maybe if you went for the buffet you can expect limited meat/veggies and more soup, but when you order off the regular menu, and when the thalis are significantly pricier than one of their mains, I think the expectations are higher.
There is a lunch buffet every day, but dinner buffets only on Sunday to Thursday, and 5.30pm to 9pm only.

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