As Saffron opened its doors less than a week ago, we’re only giving it a short preview. But if the full-fledged restaurant is anything like the teaser we got, expect a go-to Indian spot on the already star-studded Dongping Road.
Modern Indian. Pink walls sparsely populated with dim snail-shell lights, a bust of Ganesha, and a high ceiling from which droops a chandelier shaped like a portobello mushroom. Ambience is whispery.
Scratch-made Indian staples, at least ones Westerners are most familiar with, including samosas, shorbas, tikkas, kebabs, flatbreads, and of course curries, which are divided into meat and veggie.
For starters, we munched the pea and potato samosas (44RMB), crispy pockets of flour bulging with mashed potatoes and peas, accompanied by a selection of sweet and savory dips. Crunchy, pillowy, damn good.
Our main was the lamb vindaloo (78RMB) or lamb curry slopped onto a heap of slender basmati rice. And we’re aware that using “slopped” to describe food doesn’t exactly arouse the appetite, but that’s what Indian curry’s always been for us; a food that looks like a Guatemalan mudslide but tastes like heaven. Saffron’s lamb vindaloo is no different.
The curry is creamy and thick enough to fortify your stomach, but not enough to quell the lamb’s brawny flavor. Be warned though, the spiciness is untamed. After downing the last of the curry, I felt as if I’d put my mouth on the lit end of a cigar.
Soothe the burn with some authentic Indian desserts, including a mango mousse (38RMB), which is kind’ve like a cross between whipped cream and mango sorbet. Tart mango hunks sprinkled on top add some dimension.
And no need to booze on the Hengshan Lu strip after eating, Saffron has got you covered with a full bar, Indian cocktails priced at 50RMB, wines starting from 58RMB per glass and 288RMB per bottle, and a healthy selection of beers, including draft Heineken (50RMB/500ml).
Delectable Indian in a chic environment. Check it out.
Saffron – 21 Dongping Lu, near Hengshan Lu, Xuhui district (徐汇区东平路21号, 近衡山路). Tel: (0)21-6468-3081. Hours: TBA
See a complete list of our reviews here.
Benjamin Cost is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates on Shanghai’s dining scene to [email protected].