Saturday, May 1, 2010

Veggie Nook: Saffron Strings

Situated on the first floor opposite to the Reliance digital store at Banjara hills, Saffron Strings restaurant isn’t easily visible from the road. Having opened recently at the beginning of the year, it probably needs some more time to get completely furbished. The quite atmosphere inside with well- spaced tables and soft music being played sets the mood.
This 90-seater serves only vegetarian food and is known more for its reasonably priced buffet. Priced at Rs. 149 for lunch and Rs. 179 for dinner during weekdays, and slightly more during weekends, the buffet with its ample offer is a treat! All together nearly a 50 -item fare is on offer for the buffet. What stand out in the fare are the starters. The Paneer Ajwaini is a dish consisting of one inch squares of paneer sautéed with some chaat masala and powder of carom (ajwain/vamu) in it. Amongst the starters a must-try is the Crispy Potato. The thinly sliced potato wedges are deep fried, tossed with chopped onion and ginger and a sprinkling of sesame seeds added. This is great to taste as care is taken to drain it completely of its oil content and just the right amount of spices added. Also noteworthy is the Bhutta Sheekh kabab an oil-free preparation of boiled potato, mashed vegetables and fresh corn. This dough-like mix is then baked in the tandoor, sliced and served with green mint chutney. This preparation does call for a second or third helping.
What is also one of the attractions of the buffet is the chaat counter with its offer of papidi chaat and paani puris. Which Hyderabadi would resist this? Also available is the live counter with its offer of dosas and phulkas. The phulkas made of whole wheat flour, just about 3” across, are delightfully puffed and one can keep eating them. The soup can be a bit disappointing though. The Hot and Sour soup which generally makes your eyes water and your nose run was rather nondescript and bland. Perhaps the use of soya base rather than a vegetable stock as a base has weakened the taste. Though care is taken to cook the food in optimum oil, the curries in the buffet could do with a little more amount of spices. There is a good range of food in the buffet with 6 types of starters and salads, around 6 curries, 2 Chinese dishes, 6 types of Indian bread, different accompaniments like papad, crisps and pickle and lastly seven types of desserts which are a part of the sumptuous buffet. The gulab jamuns amongst the desserts are worth trying.Amongst the a la carte offer is the Paneer Adraki in a cashew nut-tomato gravy with a slightly pungent pickle- like taste and is sure to appeal to you.
The attentive waiters are a definite plus to the restaurant. The restaurant runs from 12 to 3:30 pm for lunch and 7 to 10:30 pm for dinner. A la carte for two comes to around Rs. 400. Valet parking facility is available. Free home delivery to around 5 kms is done.
Pluses: Value for money
Minuses: Nothing, really
Food: 3.5/5; Ambience: 3.5/5
Located in Kimtee Square, Road No. 12, Banjara Hills