In a nutshell:
A nice Indian restaurant at the JW Mariott, with nice ambience, live music and a roller coaster ride for our tastebuds. No match to the likes of Dum Pukht.
Address & other details: Saffron
Meal for 2: 2000 onwards
Cuisine type : vegetarian & nonvegetarian
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I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster.
Short description – in case u r in a hurry:
We got to know about this place from my childhood friend who had dined here several times. So we decided to visit this restaurant for a family gathering of 6 people.
The restaurant has a ‘toran ‘ ( gateway) look at the entrance. The interiors are dimly lit. There is a long counter on one side.
In a corner there was a niche where two gentlemen were entertaining all with live music.
Service was good. The guy taking care of us was good intentioned but seemed to be new. Made a few mistakes that r not usual in a 5 star. e.g. he forgot to get us masala chaas in time, told us wrong number of pieces of jheenga in a dish, was about to remove my plate while I was still eating and some others had finished etc.
Menu card was elaborate with great descriptions of the dishes.
Out tastebuds had a roller coaster ride – taste varied from absolute ‘high’ s to ‘low’s.
Detailed description – in case u have the time to njoy reading.
We started our evening with papad & Green chutney. The chutney was good, had punch, had an uneven texture and was enjoyable.
Red chutney was a sweet n sour tomato chutney that was good too – simple, home style.
We were served roasted corn on the cob as appetisers on the house. Did not understand the Awadhi connect though.
For starter we had salmon tikka. It was Scottish salmon marinated in mustard oil and spices, flavoured with carom seeds, cooked in a tandoor. The fish itself was excellent. It was flaky and somewhat juicy.
The spices mellowed down the super strong salmon flavour – both the fish and spice flavours complemented each other. The fish was excellent to taste. Loved it and rate it 4.5/5
We also tried lehsuni jheenga. While ordering we asked how many pieces wud b served. We were told 4 but we got 3. Whatever b the reason , not expected from a 5 star.
The lehsuni jheenga ( garlic tiger prawns) was an outstanding dish. It was soft inside, somewhat juicy and had a burnt effect on the outside. The taste was mind blowing. The prawns were super fresh. Spices were not overboard and that allowed flavours of the prawn to b retained. Super loved this dish and rate it 4.75/5
For drink we had fresh lime soda. It was as basic and unimpressive as it cud get when it was served. We asked for some lemon and sugar syrup after which it came back to life. Rate it 2/5.
We also tried sweet lassi. It was thick, lumpy and nice to taste. There was no malai topping. The sweetness was a bit more than the sourness of the dahi. Balance cud hv been better. Rate it 3/5
Masala chaas came in 2 batches – first batch was relatively plain with the drink being too smooth and without much character. It was not bad though to taste. Rate batch 1 as 2.5/5
Batch 2 was visually different too. It was freshly made as we were told and it taste way way better. The masalas cud b felt, the drink was a bit uneven and that gave it character. The sourness was on the higher side and it was much closer to the real thing rate this 4/5.
Average rating of masala chaas averages out to 3.25/5
For main course we ordered warqi paratha with a host of curries. The warqi parathas were just too good. Thick parathas with layers and layers on top of more layers …. Super soft inside and slightly burnt on the edges. They were so good that we enjoyed munching then as it is too. Rate this 4.75/5
We ordered chef qureshi’s fish curry. It was way too ordinary for the illustrious chef to lend his name to the curry. I am assuming it was an execution issue. The fish pieces ( pomfret) was boneless and the gravy thick. The gravy lacked a distinct character. Flavours of fish was there in the gravy though. I won’t say it was bad but it was just about good. Rate it 3/5.
We moved on to what turned out to be the show stopper for the evening – the gosht Nihari. The Nihari was just outstanding. The gravy was bursting with flavours of meat and also the spices as it had been slow cooked over a long time. Seasoning was perfect and the meat was as soft as pudding. The meat tasted awesome. We finished off the gravy till the last drop. Rate it 4.75/5
The other dish we had was mutton koh e awadh. It had a pronounced saffron flavour that made it special. The meat was melt in the mouth and super Yumm. The meat retained its flavour and also incorporated the flavours of the spices. The gravy was excellent as well. Rate it 4.5/5
We also tried special mutton dum biryani. This had long independent Grains of aromatic rice that was soft enough to be enjoyed but a bit short of being melt in the mouth.
The mutton of the biryani was very good and it retained the good flavours of meat. I hv surely had softer and better texture biryani meats both at idris , rahim’s Lucknow and also at dum pukht. Nevertheless on its own the biryani was very good and rate it 4/5
We were planning to order for desserts when we were served a complimentary Indian sweet platter and a cake platter, it being the ‘holi’ day.
Notable among the Indian sweets was the gulab jamun cheesecake – it had a base made of motichoor, a body of small gulab jamuns interspersed in the cheesecake. It was unputdownable.
There were several very good cakes and baked items, most of them chocolate based.
A very sweet ending, I must say. Not rating them as we did not pay for those.
Overall rating of food at saffron averages out to 3.9/5
I wud revisit this restsurant to try out other dishes. Wud surely revisit the hotel to try out other restaurants.