Saffron Indian Cuisine

There’s so much to love about Indian food. From tandoori to tikka masala, paneers to pakoras and kormas to kebabs, Indian cuisine is wide-ranging, extremely flavorful and virtually everywhere these days. A great way to experience it is in buffet form. A darn good and very popular spot is Saffron Indian Cuisine in Burnaby.

Saffron offers up a lunch time buffet for $12.99. With twelve hot items, naan, fresh salads and a couple really good desserts, it’s a decent value.

Sorry for the mediocre photos…they don’t do these items justice at all. The mainstays here are butter chicken, tandoori chicken, saffron rice and usually a biryani and curry of some kind…usually beef or lamb. Every now and then they offer a korma and/or masala as well as at least two veggie items.

Now, onto the Indian food porn!

The Tandoori Chicken is tender, juicy and full of grilled flavor. Unfortunately, as with most items on the buffet, it lacks the requisite heat of traditional Indian fare. A slather of chile powder would of gone a long way towards perfecting this dish. It’s too bad they pull their punches to satisfy the masses.

The Beef Curry follows along the same path.

Soft, fork-tender hunks of slow-cooked beef are cooked in a very subtle curry. All of the necessary spices are in play save for enough chile to put it all together. A few more pinches of chile would have lifted this dish immensely.

One of my favorite dishes is Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani). At Saffron the sauce part of it is phenomenal…cannot get enough. You can tell immediately that time and care were put into it’s creation. For me, breast meat isn’t the best choice here. The big chunks can toughen up and dry out; unlike some nice thigh or leg meat. Again, chili heat wasn’t a factor.

The Veggie Pakoras are always a sure-fire bet…except for today. They were a bit overdone with large chunks of cauliflower spilling out. On my previous ten or so visits, these were well better made.

A great remedy is their Raita.

This is amazing with pakoras. Raita can have a large variety of ingredient. In this case there’s yogurt, mint, cucumber, coriander, lime, garlic, ginger and a good bit of heat. A delightful, cooling accompaniment.

The Naan Bread here is always exceptional. Flaky and crisp with just the right amount of charification…the perfect plate-cleaner.

Gulab Jamun are super-sweet, deep-fried balls of wonderfulness…syrup-soaked Timbits, essentially. Perhaps the sweetest dessert I’ve come across.  Two of these is enough to fill a day of sugar intake.

Mango Shrikhand. This is simply the best way to serve up fruit salad. This yogurt-based dessert has a rich, dense custardiness to it.

Saffron offers great selection of Indian fare at a reasonably fair price. The food is of very good quality and very well made. The downside is that it’s geared towards the masses therefore lacking that necessary whallop of heat.



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2 responses

  1. grayelf

    I got all excited when I saw the word shrikhand in your post. I still pine for the wonderful Gujerati version I used to get at a long-gone place on Fourth. Alas, I don’t think this one is the same if it is custardy. The shrikhand of my dreams is topped with pistachio bits, larded with cardamom and very very thick, like Greek yogurt that has been strained even more than usual…

    November 22, 2010 at 8:31 am

    • I remember that place well. Surat Sweets I think. We went to a decent Gujarati place last week when we were stuck in Seattle. It’s called Haveli and in Redmond. Had their thali and was blown away. Almost as good as Surat and 10X better than Prayag Raj. Their website is
      http://www.haveli.us/1.html

      November 23, 2010 at 12:43 pm

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