Restaurant: Saffron Indian Cuisine
Last visited: September 22, 2010
Location: Burnaby, BC (Burnaby South/Metrotown)
Address: Unit 5 – 4300 Kingsway
Price Range: $10-20 (Closer to $20)
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Food: 3 (based on few items I tried)
- Family owned
- Indian chefs/cooks
- Indian food from various regions (mainly North/Punjab)
- Buffet/A la carte
- Voted best Indian in Burnaby for 4 years
- Extensive menu
- Moderately priced
- Better with groups (4+)
- Side pizza business next door
- Dine In/Take-Out/Catering
- Accepts Visa/MC
- Daily lunch buffet 11:30am-2:30pm
- Dinner buffet Sun-Wed 5:30pm-9pm
- Sun – Thurs, 11:30am – 10pm
- Fri – Sat, 11:30am – 11pm
**Recommendations: Chicken Tikka Tandoor (I didn’t really try enough to say)
Saffron Indian Cuisine is located by Metrotown in Burnaby BC. I almost only go to Indian restaurants recommended by Indian people too. I was given the recommendation to come here ages ago and I always hear about Saffron Indian Cuisine winning “best Indian food in Burnaby” by Burnaby media. However, that doesn’t say much considering the only competition is basically Bombay Bhel in North Burnaby, which I heard is better. My expectations were high for Saffron Indian Cuisine and perhaps that was why I wasn’t so impressed. I’m pretty picky with my Indian food and I’m lucky to have my fair share of home cooked versions of it, which is completely different than restaurant stuff. I won’t compare the two, but my standards are perhaps a bit higher for Indian cuisine. I guess you can say I’ve had Indian cooking lessons and I know how it’s made at home and at restaurants.
The food and portions were more or less average at Saffron, but it’s a bit pricier and the service was somewhat nonchalant. It seems catered for a “Western” crowd as there was not one Indian diner in the restaurant. I came with food blogger Kim (also responsible for the awesome photos) and coincidentally we noticed that we had Indian last time too at Desi Dosa Madras. We decided to order from the menu rather than the buffet because I find it more representable of what they can do. It ends up being a lot pricier, but at least you can order what you want and the food doesn’t sit around. Saffron Indian Cuisine claims to be “authentic Indian cuisine in a contemporary atmosphere” but with their side pizza business next door and huge boards advertising “buffet”, it seemed no different than many other Indian restaurants.
On the table:
- This is a pretty authentic mango lassi, but it was very heavy on the yogurt so it was very thick and creamy. It was more tangy than sweet and it almost tastes warm due to the texture.
- A celebration of sizzling tandoori delicacies! A melange of Tandoori Chicken, Seekh Kebab, Chicken Tika, Lamb Chops and Jumbo Tandoori Prawn. All Tandoor dishes are served with rice, salad and chutney. $18.95
- Tandoori is an Indian appetizer of barbequed or tandoor grilled meats. I figured this would be a good way to sample everything. There was 2 of everything but I wish the execution was better. The vegetables looked like scraps so they over cooked on the grill and turned charcoal black. They should have been a protective bedding so that the meats wouldn’t overcook. I wanted nice and freshly sliced vegetables.
- Tandoori Chicken – 2.5/6
- The drumsticks are a bit pinner, but the flavour was quite good. It was juicy, but I could have had it spicier. As authentic tandoori chicken it was very mild.
- **Chicken Tikka – 4/6
- Succulent boneless chicken breast marinated in yogurt, herbs & spices ($14.95 separate)
- I liked this one the best. It was chicken breast cubes (only 2) but they were very juicy and tender. It was tangy from being marinated in yogurt and well seasoned.
- Seekh Kebab – 3.5/6
- Tender rolls of minced lamb blended with fresh onions, green peppers, herbs & spices ($15.95 separate)
- I would have never guessed it was lamb. It tastes like a homemade beef sausage and it wasn’t gamey at all. I could taste the veggies and it wasn’t too oily and slightly spicy at the end. It’s almost like an Indian chorizo but made with minced meat. It’s good, but you have to eat them immediately or they overcook and get super dry and hard.
- I think they should just give 2 rolls though because 1 1/2 looked really bad.
- Tandoori Lamb Chops – n/a
- New Zealand lamb lightly marinated with yogurt and our special garam masala ($16.95 separate)
- I’m not a fan of lamb, so I can’t “rate” it. I tried a piece, and it was pretty tender with a salty crust but it’s too gamey for me.
- Jumbo Tandoori Prawns – 2.5/6
- They’re actually very big and fresh and must be eaten immediately since prawns overcook easily.
- The qulaity is good, but there’s no flavour.
- Rice & Salad
- The rice was very regular. Not greasy, not dry, but not all that flavourful either.
- The salad is weak and more of a garnish.
- Mint Chuntey – 5/6
- This was one of the best mint chutney I’ve had. It was an unusual bright green I’ve never seen and very fresh. It was very tangy with lots of pureed herbs like fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves. It was excellent with the tandoori meats and I was eating it by spoonfuls.
- Chicken with a South Indian flavour in a coconut and poppy seed sauce $13.50
- Yes it was very good, but it tastes nothing like the description so that’s what makes it disappointing.
- I was surprised to see a South Indian dish on the menu since most of it is North Indian food.
- I’ve never seen this on a menu and I was very excited to see “poppy seed sauce”, but there was no poppy seed in the sauce that I could see or taste. I couldn’t even taste the coconut milk and it tastes more like a tangy tomato based curry sauce. It was actually quite thin in texture, but still flavorful although not as aromatic. I would have appreciated some more garlic, ginger and even just some onions in the sauce. We ordered it medium spicy, but it was mild.
- The chicken was boneless white and dark meat and there was a decent amount as well although you can’t tell in the photo. Each piece was tender and juicy but I would have liked more sauce because I had naan leftover.
Garlic and Basil Naan – 3/6
- Leavened tandoor-baked bread with garlic and basil $2.50
- A flavour of naan I rarely see offered.
- I could see some fresh garlic on it, but it wasn’t that much and the flavour was enhanced by what I think was garlic powder in the dough.
- The basil barely served a purpose because there wasn’t that much on it. It would have been good if there was more because it was aromatic and crispy from the tandoor.
- It was freshly made, but not that fluffy or buttery. One of the best naan I’ve had is from Dhaka Fish & Biryani Halal Restaurant.
- Cook’s special mix $3.75
- This is pretty much their chicken naan, which is naan stuffed with chicken. The Saffron naan is the same thing, but with”more stuff” as I was told.
- It was soft and and moist with the stuffed chicken so texture of the naan was different. It wasn’t stuffed with much chicken, but there was some onions, bell peppers, curry powder flavour, dried herbs, and gharam masala spices. I’ve had better chicken naan before at Indian restaurants in Surrey and Delta.
- The best stuffed chicken roti (different from naan) was from Mohamed Nazar Curry House in Malaysia and unfortunately I haven’t seen it here in Vancouver.