Saffron House (Indian) – Watford
Having been operating for 13 years now, the restaurant recently changed its name in January earlier this year to Saffron House along with an extensive renovation.
What’s more, this 40-cover, brand spanking new venue, with its vibrant red, white, blue and black colour-scheme, also introduced a new menu.
Otherwise, you’ll be contemplating the option of a takeaway or delivery, with 20% off all orders online.
In addition, they cater for private dining and parties, as well as offering an outside catering service.
And while alcohol is served on the premises, we’ve been informed that while Saffron House isn’t HMC-approved, its meat supplier is.
Not exactly an ideal start with over-fried and unappetising papadpoms being presented with the condiments below.
The inhouse tomatoes chutney was amazing, and had a chilli kick to it that reminded us of hot salsa dip. The mango version, on the other hand, was standard.
This Chilli Fry was unique. The tamarind’s familiar tangy-sweetness was nicely countered by the strong slices of onion and the uncompromising chilli curry sauce therein.
Though the chicken was overwhelmed somewhat, the robust flavours in this no-nonsense plate made it one of the standout dishes of the review.
Another fascinating one was this Bhindi Jaipuri. Essentially rustically cut, thin slices of dry, spiced, fried okra, dressed with a simple squeeze of lemon, which made this a dish definitely worth trying as a light snack.
You know an Indian restaurant is serious when they have a dedicated chef for looking after the tandoori section. While we appreciated the quality of the meat, sadly, not all of the elements in this mixed grill were properly executed.
So the seekh kebab not only came out unforgivably warm, but also lacked in spice, had a chalky texture, and was thus average.
The spring lamb chops, however, were far better; perfectly cooked, tender, with the smokiness courtesy of the charring making this a tasty eat.
Cooked in a thick sauce, with fresh tomatoes and onions for apparently four hours, this vibrant-looking Rogan Josh comprised of a blend of spices done right.
The lamb broke apart with ease, indicating its slow cooked origin, with the overall taste of the curry being tomato-based.
This was one we’d never tried before. We found out later that this ginger-flavoured chicken dish is North Indian in origin.
Be that as it may, the spices in this were certainly strong enough to mask any taste of the ginger, to the extent that even the chicken, which was well cooked, was lost somewhat. For what it was worth though, it was a good, tasty curry.
Makhanwala is your classic butter chicken, in this case, chicken tikka simmered in creamy tomato, fenugreek and butter sauce, all of which made this version more a tangy one rather than a rich buttery one.
Nonetheless, a well crafted chicken dish, and one of the better ones we’ve had. Worth a try for sure!
A vegetarian plate made up of cottage cheese marinated in pickled spices, with onions, tomatoes, peppers, and grilled in the clay oven, before being stir-fried in light spices.
With that said, while the gravy was light, it was the beautifully cooked, large, soft cubes of paneer that everyone went for. All in all, a superb dish that could grace any table.
Everyone knows how difficult it is to get a biryani right. In this case, and despite a good attempt, it didn’t quite hit the spot. This was more spiced than fragrant.
Basically, pilau rice, and very well made pilau rice at that, garnished with a wedge of a lemon. It was quite aromatic too; and at £2.50, certainly an option to go with any curry.
On the other hand though, and at a staggering £2.50 a pop, this Garlic Nan was perfectly cooked. But at £2.50 each?!
At the same price, but with a filling, this Peshwari nan actually came filled, believe it or not, with coconut!
As a result, it was very sweet, to the point of tasting like halva. Perhaps even more bizarrely, we enjoyed the contrast of its ultra sweetness with the spiciness of a given curry.
This lightly spiced, soft potato dish was more a veggie curry than a side; and which went well with the mint yogurt.
There really wasn’t anything ‘tarka’, i.e. tempered, about this dish, which came out bland, lacking in seasoning, anaemic-looking, and therefore the worst dish of the night!
With no proper non-alcoholic drinks available on the menu, we were told that the chefs could rustle up almost anything at request. And so we ordered a trio of lassies.
Sadly, theirs was more milky than yoghurty. Hence, while the sweet version was too milky for its own good, the mango was too sugary, and the salty far to insipid. Overall, very disappointing!
This Masala Chai was off menu, but pulled out of the proverbial hat. With bags of cardamom flavour, rich, powerful and satisfyingly soothing in taste, be sure to order this.
With a small kitchen, all the dessrts are brought in.
We know this has been named a Rocky, but that doesn’t warrant the ice cream, presented in a wafer cone bowl and topped with chocolate chips, turning out hard in texture.
Similarly, the top layer of this cheesecake was also hard and firm, with the banana not coming through as it should have.
- YES/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
- DISABLED FACILITIES
- CLICK & COLLECT
- UBER & DELIVEROO
Of the many dishes had, there were some that weren't as well executed as they should have been. But, there's no denying the robustness of them; the kitchen hadn't cowered to any palette, instead refusing to skimp on the spices and chillis.
Simply stick to our menu recommendation below though and you won't go far wrong.
Don't forget to use your EXCLUSIVE FtL 10% discount; and always book ahead, since this place does tend to get quite busy in the evening.
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