Saturday, August 27, 2016

Restaurant Review: Zaffron Kitchen, Singapore

Life is busy.....like crazy busy. But that's no excuse to completely disappear from blogosphere, now is it? Whenever I don't have time to come up with fresh content, I turn to my drafts folder. I always have at least a dozen partially finished posts in there! hahaha

This is a post that I had started way back in....erm....I actually can't even remember the year! I hadn't completed it because I had the photos all scattered in different albums and I lacked the patience to sort through them. Yesterday when I found myself free for an hour and realized I hadn't posted in a week, I decided it was time.

I've been to Zaffron Kitchen too many times to recount. The very first time was to the restaurant on East Coast Road eons ago. Me and hubby were at the newly opened Katong mall on a Sunday morning to watch a movie in Gold Class. After the movie, we were contemplating where to go for lunch and we ended up heading towards Zaffron Kitchen which happened to be a stone's throw away from the mall. It was our first tryst with this restaurant and as you will go on to read, definitely didn't end up being the last!

Zaffron Kitchen (East Coast)

Decked in shades of orange, grey and brown, this medium-sized restaurant showcases a cosmopolitan and modern ambience.

First thoughts - the restaurant at East Coast imparts a relaxed and cosy vibe. I really liked the interiors because it catches you by surprise. It doesn't look anything like how you picture a traditional Indian restaurant to look like. I thought the color scheme and layout were striking. Another interesting observation was that the patrons were a mix of locals and expatriates so I gathered that the restaurant had a strong local presence along with an International appeal.

I was rather surprised by the considerably large play area for kids because that is not something you usually see at Indian restaurants in Singapore.

The staff were courteous and attended to us promptly.



I
Here are some of the items we ordered,

Lassi ($5)

A lassi is a great accompaniment to an Indian meal because it helps to quell the medley of legendary Indian spices.

We ordered the Banana Lassi and the Strawberry Lassi. I didn't dig the Banana Lassi because it was too sour for my liking. The Strawberry Lassi was definitely better. It was still in my opinion a bit sour but the potent berry flavour somewhat masked it.



Papdi Chaat ($6)

Papdi Chaat typically consists of with fried dough wafers called papdi made from refined white flour, served with sweet yogurt, and topped with mint chutney and crunchy sev.

The dish was beautifully presented (as you can see). It was served cold and you could appreciate all the layers of sweet, savoury and spicy flavours which is what good chaat is all about.

Thumbs up!



Dum Biryani ($10)

The Dum Biryani looked amazing. It had a top layer of dough covering the pot to retain the steam. The flavour of the biryani was alright. The rice and gravy were like two distinct components and didn't come together as well as one would have liked. The fragrance of saffron however was evident and that gave the rice a richness.



Gajar Halwa ($8)

The Gajar halwa painted a very pretty picture. It was warm and creamy with ghee oozing out of it. The Ben and Jerry's vanilla ice-cream complimented the halwa beautifully. A gratifying end to the meal.

Heavily recommended!



Zaffron Kitchen (Jurong East)

After the second outlet opened at Westgate in Jurong, I must say, there was no looking East....LOL. Whenever we are at Westgate, we either stop by the restaurant for snacks or else order takeaway. Zaffron has become one of the usual suspects in our Indian dining scene. When dining at the restaurant, we always make a reservation beforehand because it can get pretty crowded, especially on weekends.

I really appreciate the way the interiors have been designed in both restaurants. The restaurant at Jurong East is much smaller than its East Coast counterpart and looks distinctly different.This one has a more elegant with a classic British Indian inspired interior design. Decorative purple taupe wood panels and frames with large glass window at the entrance create a grand facade. Upon entry into the restaurant, you will be greeted with a sense of grandeur with the high lofty ceiling decked out with dark wood strip waffle ceiling with two modern chandeliers.

The geometric tiled floors, wooden ceiling, warm lighting and the eye-catching wall fixtures adds to the oomph factor.



The wall fixtures presents  tidbits of India's rich history and culture. There is something to represent the people, the food, the film industry, places of interest and significant historical events. The classic Indian photo montage lends nice touch indeed  

The bar area on the left is one of the most prominent features for the restaurant. It looked very shiny and sparkly to me! There are numerous kinds of alcohol on display so liquor connoisseurs can spend some time browsing through what they have on offer.





The menu isn't extensive but does feature many of the well-loved North Indian dishes & chaats.

The menu is on an iPad and is pretty easy to navigate. There are tabs representing the different courses so you can go through it and then select the items that you would like to order.


Take note that this review comes after repeated visits to the restaurant and the photos (clearly) are from different visits.

Here are some of the items that we usually order,

Passionfruit Smoothie

This was fabulous! Sweet and refreshing with the lovely notes of passionfruit coming through in every gulp. I really enjoyed it and would keep it in mind to order again.  



Pakoda ($5)

I'm not sure why this starter is called pakoda. Masala vada would be a more appropriate in my opinion but never mind me. The pakodas were served in 4 pieces alongside two kinds of vibrant chutneys (we ordered 2 portions if you were wondering).

They were piping hot, crispy and delicious. Might be considered a tad oily but if you don't mind the excess grease, it makes for a pretty good starter. But as with most fried items, I wouldn't recommend it for a take-away though.



Paneer Tikka ($11)

I'm quite sure I've mentioned elsewhere on my blog regarding my love affair with paneer tikka. It has to be one of my favourite starters and I predictably order it at restaurants. From my experience, the paneer tikka at Zaffron Kitchen is good most of the times.

During this visit it was not as good as it usually it. The flavour was nice enough but the paneer was dry and a bit crumbly.




Tandoori Mixed Grill ($22)

If you are vegetarian and not sure what items to order off the tandoor menu, you can have them all with this veg mixed grill.

The platter comes with paneer tikka, tandoori gobi and tandoori mushroom. For me, the best of the lot was tandoori mushroom. The mushrooms were moist and juicy and had absorbed all those delectable flavours of the tandoor. The charring on the mushrooms was on point too. The paneer tikka was alright. The tandoori gobi was a huge letdown. Terribly bland and the gobi was cooked enough to suit my liking.





Assortment of tandoori breads ($4-5.5 per variety)

We ordered a little bit of everything - butter naan, garlic naan, lachha paratha and cheese naan. The breads were all freshly made and tasted good especially the layered whole wheat lachha paratha. The cheese naan didn't have enough cheese in it so that was just ordinary.



Palak Paneer ($13)

I always feel like palak paneer at restaurants have an edge over the homemade variety. I for one, just cannot get the same kind of flavour.

I almost always order this dish at Zaffron. The palak paneer at zaffron kitchen has great color, is creamy, flavourful and moreish. It was a tad salty during the visit this pic was taken and the paneer cubes didn't taste as fresh which was a little disappointing. But I would still order it next time considering all the good ones I have relished in previous visits. After all, loyalty is a strong sentiment!



My concluding remarks:
Zaffron Kitchen is a restaurant in Singapore serving up contemporary Indian dishes and local delights. Both branches have been done up in a non-traditional yet beautiful manner and have an upscale feel to them. The restaurant at East Coast is larger and child-friendly compared to the one in the West so that is something you can keep in mind based on your requirement.

The dishes are well executed and tasty, the service courteous (although sometimes slow) and prices affordable. The food here isn't very spicy by Indian standards so if you are new to Indian food, this would be a great place to satisfy your curious palate.

So if you're craving good old-fashioned favourites from the tandoor and zesty curries brought to life by a plethora of spices, then this is one restaurant to consider.

I would suggest this restaurant for families, couples, small groups and business lunches.


My rating for this restaurant is




Zaffron Kitchen

East Coast
135/137 East Coast Road
Singapore 428820

Tel +65 6440 6786

Opening Hours
:
Mon - Thur : 11.30am - 10.00pm (close 3.00pm - 5.00pm)

Fri, Sat and Eve of PH : 11:30am - 11:00pm

Sun and PH : 11:30am - 10:30pm

Westgate
3 Gateway Drive
#01-20, Singapore 608532

Tel +65 6465 9880

Opening Hours
:
Mon - Thur : 11.30am - 9.30pm (close 3:00pm - 5:00pm)

Fri - Sun, eve of PH and PH : 11:00am - 10:00pm


For General Enquiries
info@zaffronkitchen.com


Cheers,



Note: This is not a sponsored review. The opinions in this post are solely my own and based on personal experience

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