This Saffron Circle Restaurant Review could almost be summarized in two words: Vada Pao. If you know, you know. I’ve used a few more than two words for this Swiss Cottage restaurant, but all they’re totally worth it. Disclosure: We were invited guests of Saffron Circle, but I’m definitely planning on going back. In fact, I’ve been back for Vada Pao since I did the lunch review and I’m planning to take Mr Kiwi and his family to try those lamb chops…
When I was in high school, a family adopted me – I was best friends with their daughter Krebashini – and instead of us lurking on the phone line for an insensible amount of hours (remember when there was only one line of communication in the house?) her Mum got smart and often invited me over after school to do homework. If we’re being honest here, as much as I loved Krebashini, the clincher was 100% how good a cook her Mum was.
I have a confession to make – though my palette was wider than your average Kiwi Kid, I absolutely didn’t have a tolerance for spice. So much so, that her mum would often make me a separate portion – the unintended plus side was that I didn’t have to share. It was heaven.
Then I moved to London (sadly over the years we’ve lost touch – I really ought to….
….sorry you lost me down a Facebook black hole there, having a look for Krebashini. Perhaps a job for tomorrow [edit: I found her!] Back to the Saffron Circle review, eh! (Stick around for the #QualityContent…) Why am I taking you down this dithering wander down memory lane?
- because it’s my blog and I can dither if I want to
- personal stories and memories intertwined with food are so important
- I always worry about reviewing cuisines that aren’t my own, but in this case, I’ve been exercising my tastebuds for this review, developed their love of spice since I was 12.
Since moving to London, I’ve been vastly expanding my palette repertoire; from Momos (a type of South Asian dumpling) and discovering NZ Kumara (sweet potato) at my local Asian supermarkets, to Bhindi Masala (okra stuffed with spice mix) and the joy of freshly made Peshwari naan.
Sitting down together (with two experts), we ordered a veritable feast of small plates; from Punjabi samosas – Savoury pastry filled with mildly spiced mashed potato and green peas and lace-delicate crispy okras, to Bombay Bhel – puffed rice mixed with onion, tomatoes, chaat masala & chutneys – and a double serving of Vada Pao because we’re good friends who understand that some things aren’t to be shared. Saffron Circle Restaurant
I’ve recently discovered the carb joy of Vada Pao – a deep-fried potato dumpling served inside a brioche bun accompanied with tamarind chutney, and mint chutney. HEAVEN.
Every tineful was joyful.
And, then, to mains. The glorious mains.
We largely ordered vegetarian fare, almost unintentionally; Muttar Paneer – Indian cottage cheese cooked with garden-fresh peas in a creamy onion & tomato sauce, Cauliflower Masala – cauliflower & tomatoes cooked together with whole spices & fresh herbs, Aloo Jeera – new potatoes tossed in cumin seeds, onion & garlic and a cheeky Keema Pao – curried minced lamb served with a buttered brioche bun.
(Plus rice and a Peshwari Naan which was perfection.)
It was just so good – the mission at Saffron Valley Restaurants is to provide authentic, made-from-scratch Indian food using fresh, local ingredients and exotic flavours that will educate and excite the palate while surprising each guest with high quality, personal service steeped in a culture of warmth and hospitality.
Chef Shah and his team have nailed it, absolutely nailed it.
Inspiring the decor and the cocktail menu, the star-crossed story of Rishi and Maya is about an adventurous soul trapped inside an anxious mind, and a carefree young lady who fall in love at first sight during Rishi’s engagement to a girl he didn’t choose.
Their story echoes through the restaurant from top to bottom
I can’t wait to return and try those flavours all over again. (Top tip: order your own separate Vada Pao, especially if you like the people you go with to Saffron Circle Restaurant. Wouldn’t want to cause any disappointment…)
What is your favourite Asian dish?
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