Monday, July 27, 2015

Saffron Mantra

Saffron Mantra was being spoken about quite a bit but I ignored it for a long time. The mixed and usual menu of Indian + Chinese didn't excite me much. Till one day, too lazy to travel to the other side of the city, I inquired in the foodie groups for a feedback. Hearing good things, I geared up to visit the place.
Situated on the Karkhna main road and having worked in the same building for a long time, finding it wasn't a challenge at all.
The place is huge and spacious with well-spaced tables. Tall, wavy, lacy saffron curtains added to the idea of space.

Saffron Mantra

When the waiter appeared, I requested him just one thing: 'ensure I get quality stuff', haunted  as I was of recent experiences of getting nilch for good money.
He sent for another waiter, a Oriya guy (forget his name now). I repeated my request of getting good stuff...and there begins my journey of a great experience!

My first order was for Manchow Veg soup. It was simply awesome in taste. The right vegetables, served at right temperature, not too spicy...just perfect! The good part was that the noodles were served separately as I kept adding them while I sipped the soup.

Manchow Soup
Foodie members recommended the Poha Hara Kabab. Just after ordering it, I realized there was a starter platter called Subz e Khajana. I quickly called the waiter to ask him about it and he said I could order four of the vegetarian starters from the menu. I left it to the waiter's choice. I approved of Galouti Kebab  and Paneer Kairi Tikka as these were also highly recommended by the foodie members. He suggested Tandoori Cauliflower which I accepted half halfheartedly (a very common dish).

Subz e Khazana

Poha Hara Kabab was made of spinach and paneer and rolled in poha to get that crunch. And it was that crunch that added to its taste.
The Paneer Kairi Tikka--I was skeptical of the mix of sweetness in an appetizer. But this was a very clever trick. The chef had just added a sliver of mango jelly sandwiched between two pieces of the softest paneer and the result was awesome-- a great balance of spicy and sweet.
What I had not heard of and was purely the waiter's suggestion was the Tandoori Cauliflower. The menu description says 'gobi with garlic, almonds and cheese sprinkled with red chilli'. I may not have been able to discern all the ingredients and spices but the result was just GREAT! In the whole of Hyderabad, I have yet to taste Tandoori Gobi which tasted so good. Right spices, right creaminess and well-grilled. Thanks to the waiter for this suggestion.
On the down side, the Galouti Kebabs, so spoken about by lot of foodies were a disappointment as I found them too soft. Upon asking, the waiter says, they were supposed to be melt-in the-mouth experience. But to me they were under cooked.
I only had to give this feedback and they were quickly removed from the platter and replaced with this corn rolls (not on menu) which again were quite decent in taste. To compensate I got four pieces, instead of three on the starters platter :)

Feeling full by now, I ordered for a sweet and sour fresh lime soda and was pleasantly taken by the presentation and the quantity served. Need I speak of the quality? No complaints on this.

Fresh Lime Soda
In the main course, I ordered for a Methi Dum Aloo which was described as 'fresh fenugreek and baby potatoes in creamy gravy' and for me the only disappointment of the day as neither did I find baby potatoes in it nor did I find any creaminess to the dish. It had regular potatoes chopped into big chunks and pretty much the regular red gravy. The fenugreek added a slight bitterness to the dish. Perhaps a bit of blanching would have helped get rid of that bitterness. The waiter offered to replace the dish but I by this time I had spent quite a bit of time in the restaurant and wanted to return.
The bread section had a vast variety to choose from and the garlic nan that I ordered was decently soft and crunchy .

Methi Malai Dum Aloo & Garlic Nan
In keeping with its Saffron backdrop, the bill was presented in this tiny saffron bucket.

Apart from the regular North Indian and Chinese, the restaurant also serves stuff like South Indian tiffins, pizzas etc. in the evenings.
When I opened the carry bag with the left-overs at home, I was pleasantly surprised to see them all so neatly packed and labeled. Some dedication this!

For me
Ambiance: 4.5/5
Service: 5/5
Food: 3.5/5
VFM: 4/5

Will I go back? Yes! I look forward to trying their other stuff soon..