Last week a coworker and I were given the opportunity to shoot some promotional photographs of the Upper East Side’s new Saffron Garden restaurant. The owners immediately began cooking up a feast for us to photograph, so we hurried through the picture-taking process with the full intention of devouring what they cooked.
Six dishes in all were presented to us, ranging from meat entrees to vegetarian dishes, to a dessert, all captured below. We dined with the restaurants owners in the quiet intimate setting of Saffron Garden, and stuffed ourselves with all six dishes.
We started with the vegetable pakoras and samosas, popular fried snack with a flaky outside filled with a spiced vegetable inside. Each pakora had a slightly different inside, with a crispy chickpea batter outside. The pakoras and samosas were an excellent appetizer, and went great alongside the various chutney’s we were served.
After our appetizers we sampled the entrees in a buffet style, taking as much of everything as we could eat. The saffron vegetable rice was a perfect complement to the other dishes, well spiced and excellent at sopping up the sauces of the other entrees. The chicken tikka masala, which has long been a favorite dish for me, was surprisingly light and topped with sliced almonds. The chicken was cut in large chunks, but remained tender, and the sauce a great blend between sweet and spicy.
The vegetable jalfrezi was a favorite dish, more mild than spicy but it still packed a kick to it that made the vegetables come to life. The dish was covered in coriander, which cooled the whole meal down nicely. The tandoori chicken was my favorite dish of all. The chicken was perfectly spicy and surprisingly tender. I’ve had tandoori chicken before that was dry, but this chicken was moist and very well spiced, and sliced like butter right off the bone.
To top off the entire meal we had a serving of gulab jamun, a sweet ball-shaped dessert drenched in sugary syrup. The dough itself is milk-derived, rolled together with flour to produce a sweet dessert. Gulab jamun is a little too sweet for me, but my coworker loved it. After the meal we could barely walk, but I can verify that Saffron Garden prepares delicious authentic Indian food, and I’ll be sure to eat there again in the future.
Saffron Garden currently has two locations, one on the Upper East Side, and one in Sunnyside. You can order online from either location at Foodtoeat.
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