Saffron Restaurant: A Little Bit Of Nostalgia, A Lot of Flavour
Tucked away in a little corner of E Street, Saffron Restaurant, is a treasure trove of rare and refurbished collectible items of old Pakistan anddelicious Mediterranean food.
One gets a feel of what the restaurant isabout at the entrance as they are greeted by a grand ethnic wooden door which is enshrouded by a host of leaves, making it look almost like a hidden secret. The secrets begin to unfold as you walk through the door into a courtyard with colourful floor tiles, ornate wooden arches, plants caressing the walls and an outdoor seating area. The interior walls of the restaurant are decorated with framed miniature illustration, vintage post cards and other finds from around Southeast Asia. You will find old lanterns, ceiling fans, refurbished furniture and decorative pieces all with a story to tell; the air is filled with nostalgia.
Saffron is not only a visual treat; it is a treat for all senses. The wonderful aroma of the food and various spices greets your noses as you walk in to be seated. The staff is well spoken, polite and is very aware of each dish and what it comprises of.
As a starter the Arabic Cold Mezze Platter is perfect for two to five people. It is a combination of a variety of Arabic food dips (Hummus, Muttabal, Baba Ganoush, Labneh), Turkish Ezme, Fattoush, Olives, Chilli Oil and Crispy Bread. Each dip has its own unique Middle Eastern flavor that you cannot resist but dip your bread into. It is a perfect dish to start with as it gives you a variety of things in one.
On the main course menu the Grilled Chicken Jalepeno, Baked Fillet of Sole and Mutton Shank are the favourites. The Grilled Chicken Jalapeno is two chicken breast fillets dressed with a jalapeno sauce, which is has a wonderful zing to it, and mashed potatoes on the side.
The Baked Fillet of Sole is all about presentation! Packed away in a tin foil wrapping, made to look like a fish, with small garlic bread pieces inside the tail and a side dish of rice, this meal inspires the three senses of sight, smell and taste. The fish itself is cooked beautifully; it literally melts in your mouth! There are a host of flavours, from sharp to sweet to salty that dance on your tongue and give a rather refreshing feeling. This is definitely a perfect light summer dish.
The Mutton Shank is a delight to look at a pleasurable experience overall. This is one of those dishes that need to be cooked to perfection and Saffron has nailed it. The mutton was wonderfully tender and the gravy added an exquisite flavour to the meal. The dish comes with steamed vegetables and mashed potatoes.
Along with the food, knowing what to drink is very important. Three items topped their menu: Pina Colada, Iced Tea and Saffron Special. The Pina Colada had a lovely flavour and was not too heavy as most places make it to be. The Iced Tea is light and slightly sweet, perfect to go along with a heavy meal. The Saffron Special, though, topped the charts. It is a Shikanjabeen style drink which is the best to have if you want to cool of in the Karachi heat.
After a heavy meal, one always manages finds room for dessert and the Crème Brule and Chocolate Molten cake are definitely worth it. The Crème Brule has a pleasing caramel layer with soft tender custard underneath that simply melts in your mouth. The Chocolate Molten cake on the other hand is sinners paradise as the rich chocolate makes you lose yourself in its flavour.
All in all, Ruheena Malik has done a wonderful job with the place in terms of the aesthetics, staff training and the precision and taste of every dish that comes out of the kitchen. Their Ramadan menu seems like a delight and we wish Saffron the best of luck for all their future endeavours!