The review: The Saffron, Stowmarket

Saffron Restaurant, Stowmarket

Saffron Restaurant, Stowmarket - Credit: Archant

Chris Brammer warms-up with a curry at The Saffron

The Saffron, Stowmarket

The Saffron, Stowmarket - Credit: Archant

Setting

Chicken Tikka Peshwari, left, and Chicket Tikka Kushboo

Chicken Tikka Peshwari, left, and Chicket Tikka Kushboo - Credit: Archant

The Saffron is found at the heart of Stowmarket and is easily accessible.

Interior

A good Indian gets my taste-buds tingling more than any other cuisine and my first visit to the Saffron, in Stowmarket, certainly fit the bill.


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Customers are offered the chance to enjoy their meal in “luxurious, elegant surroundings” and owners Abdul Mukit and Ibrahim Ali have certainly gone the extra mile to provide just that.

The restaurant steers clear of the clichéd stuffy atmosphere often found in an Indian restaurant, with polished tiled floors and a modern wall design, a world away from the thick carpet and gaudy, gold wallpaper that is often the norm.

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On entering an Indian restaurant, there is nothing better than catching a whiff of what is coming from a kitchen. However, the flip-side of that is that such smells can often be stale. There was no danger of that here with the kitchen (I saw it for myself) situated on the second floor of the building, in spacious surroundings.

The atmosphere is airy and fresh, although the owners’ aims to break away from the stereotype went a step too far, when I discovered there was a paucity of Bollywood music coming through the speakers!

That is part of the experience for me but later in the evening the modern sounds of JLS and Olly Murs etc were mixed up with the magical sounds that only Hindi cinema can create.

Food

The service was excellent with the knowledgeable staff revealing as much as they could about the vast array of dishes on the menu. I say as much because some of the magic created in the kitchen is kept there!

Most of the curry dishes have a stunning gravy base (another restaurant secret) which is then complemented by a plethora of herbs and spices to create unique-tasting meals from a menu that includes a wide range of fish dishes and vegetarian options

My girlfriend Nicki and I began with the usual poppadom starters, complete with a pickle tray that included fiendish lime and mixed pickle pots, a tasty tamarind sauce and mint sauce that included a subtle, tasty hint of vanilla.

On to the starters and having been shown around the kitchen and seen Nicki’s opening dish, chicken tikka puri, being cooked, I tucked in to chicken chilli popcorn – a dish unique to Saffron.

I was given a generous portion of the little red balls, complete with side salad, which exploded with flavour once they hit my pallet. I later found out they were Vindaloo hot!

Don’t let that put you off though. Had the dish come with the equivalent sauce, then yes, it wouldn’t have been for the faint-hearted, but instead they offered a tasty, spicy treat that could be cooled down and complimented by the tamarind sauce.

On to the main course and I went for the chicken tikka peshwari with extra chilli. I am not sure whether or not the boys were concerned about making it too hot, but the dish still lacked a bit of spice for me.

That said, peshwari dishes are based on almonds, coconut, ginger and garlic so I should have known better.

As for Nicki’s dish, that was superb. She went for a chicken tikka kushboo – a medium strength dish, highly flavoured and cooked with a number of fried spices in a yoghurt sauce.

The taste didn’t immediately yell curry. Instead it was more like a thick flavoursome stew, complete with the unique taste of the secret Saffron base sauce, and came with generous amounts of chunky, succulent chicken.

I wasn’t too disappointed when I had to finish it off (Nicki had filled up on the pickle tray and starter) and it will certainly be at the top of my “wanted list” on my next visit.

To go with the main courses, we ordered a mushroom rice and cheese naan to share. The rice was light and fluffy. As for the cheese naan, that was slightly disappointing as it was a touch singed underneath and was a little bland, however we will certainly be making a return visit!

Cost

The whole meal, including drinks cost 35.85 and was value for money in my book.

Contact

The Saffron, 36 Union Street West, Stowmarket. Call 01449 614444.

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