Shenzhen China is a fast growing city that has quickly begun to diversify its city culture with a diverse range of restaurants. Due to this, it is becoming easier and easier each day to find cuisine that caters to your taste no matter where you are from.
I remember that when I first came to Shenzhen it was not so easy to find western style restaurants, but as more and more people searched for restaurants that catered to their tastes, others would go the extra mile and open restaurants themselves better catered to their culture and those seeking out such cuisine. Aman & Guraman, the owners of Saffron Indian Restro-Bar faced the same problem, not being able to find truly authentic Northern Indian dishes in the Luohu area. Instead of waiting for someone to open such a restaurant, they decided to open their own and bring authentic Indian cuisine from their home town Delhi.
Delhi is considered where curries and many other popular Indian dishes like samosas, tandoori, biryani and butter chicken originated. This fast passed city pushed its residents to seek out faster-dining options, and from there – street food outlets began to become very popular, serving grab-and-go type foods that are now popular throughout all of India. Aman & Guraman would find a restaurant in the Luohu area for sale and eventually open Saffron around March of 2017. Saffron focuses on Northern Indian food with all its chef’s being from Delhi. The menu is a mix of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisine and seems to have a much richer taste than other Indian restaurants I’ve tried.
Saffron is large and can seat over 200 guests with two party rooms are available that can be used for any occasion and even come equipped with Karaoke. If you wish to rent a room, each of the party rooms can hold a maximum of about 50-60 people and if you want to rent both rooms and link them together they can seat over 100 people.
When I first visited Saffron I thought that the food served would be very similar to the other Indian restaurants that I’ve tried, surprisingly I was mistaken in that assumption. There were dishes I’ve never heard of packed with great flavors and creamy textures.
The first dish I tried was called Fish Orley – which is a fried fish dish. This dish featured strips of fish fried and served with a tartar sauce. This dish actually reminded me more of a western fried fish dish due to the sauce that was served with it. It’s something that I wouldn’t expect to see in an Indian restaurant but this dish is very popular in Northern Indian cuisine.
The second dish I tried was the Bharwan Aloo (Tandoori – Grilled). Tandoori refers to the method of cooking and usually involves a variety of ovens most commonly a cylindrical clay or metal oven. This dish was really unique and featured a potato covered in sesame seeds and stuffed with vegetables. It was a great potato or “Aloo” dish that is very different from the usual potato dishes I’ve seen. This dish comes with four potatoes and is served with a cilantro based sauce.
Another two dishes which are personal favorites of mine are the Afghani Chicken and the lamb chops. The Afghani chicken is extremely tender and is made from chicken legs marinated in a yogurt base and cooked Tandoori style giving it a tender and creamy texture. The lamp chops are marinated for a minimum of two hours and are then grilled tandoori style. These also have an amazing texture and are very tender. Both dishes were a bit new to me when it comes to Indian cuisine and I was really impressed by the flavors.
If you are a vegetarian, there are quite a few choices available that would make it necessary for you come back, again and again, to try them all, such as Chole Bhature, Malai Kofta, and Lasuni Palak Paneer. The Malai Kofta is a dish made from crushed cauliflower mixed with various vegetables served fried with a tasty sauce. The Lasuni Palak Paneer is a cheese dish made from fresh “Paneer” which is a type of cubed cottage cheese that is sautéed and served with a vegetable based sauce. My favorite of all of these was the Chole Bhature, it comes with a fried flatbread and is made from chickpeas.
Quality is of the utmost importance at Saffron and both Aman & Guraman know that if the quality of the ingredients is high then the overall flavor will be elevated as well. That said, they do not cut corners to use cheaper ingredients. Still, the pricing at Saffron is extremely affordable and the quality of the service goes beyond that I’ve experienced in many fine dining locations. It is also good to note that there are roughly 30 wines available at Saffron that are of the same level of quality of that which you would find in five-star hotels in the Shenzhen area. Saffron also offer wine pairing and serve such wines as AIX Rose, Pelissero, Maeli Fior D’ and Bisol.
In my home city Atlanta, there are quite a few Indian restaurants and I was certain that I’ve tried most of the types of cuisine that India had to offer – but my dining experience at Saffron proved that I have a lot more to learn when it comes to Indian cuisine. Saffron introduced to me many dishes I have never tried before all of which were delicious. Overall it was a unique experience and I am excited about returning to try more new dishes in the near future.