Every so often you can stumble across a previously hidden gem. One of those is the ‘Safron’ Kitchen on Pattaya Klang (Central Road). This venue was discovered by Madame (in this case of Indian descent) and it was decided that the Dining Out Team should investigate. Let’s do the “ethnic” thing was the suggestion.
Firstly, let me help you find this little jewel. Come down Pattaya Klang, cross over Third Road and then grab the first parking spot you can. ‘Safron’ Kitchen is in a single shop house on the left, about 50 meters after the intersection, and almost directly opposite the Electric Authority (look for the orange trucks parked on the road). It seats around 20 diners, that is all, and has the kitchen at the far end of the shop. It is air-conditioned. Owner, service girl and cook is Sheela, a delightful Nepali with good English and a very bubbly personality.
There are two menus, one in English and the other in Russian which also had photographs. Perhaps this could be done with the English one next time as well. In common with most Indian restaurants, the various sections are split into Non-Veg and Veg (which are generally very much cheaper than the similar Non-Veg (meat) dishes).
Non-Veg starters, which include many kebab items, range between B. 200-350, while the Veg starters are between B. 90-100 and the Tandoori Veg B. 150-200.
Lentils (Dal), one of the staples in Indian cooking are B. 100-120.
Main courses (Non-Veg) are mostly around B. 200 and the Veg mains between B. 100-200. Breads to go with these include Roti and Chapatti (B. 15-20).
Beverages are mainly locally brewed beers (B. 70 small bottle), but no Kingfisher Indian beer unfortunately (if you get the chance, try it)!
We began with freshly made poppadums and a wonderfully spicy green chutney. For me, I needed the ice-cold beer, but Madame was reveling in it all. We followed that with some very well filled samosas and then took a little breather. Food as good as we were enjoying needs to be savored.
As always, I found that we had ordered too much, as out came plates with Chapattis, Raita, Aloo Ghobi (B. 120), Bhuna Gosht (B. 250) and Murgh Makhani (B. 200). The Chapatti’s were beautifully soft, and I was glad that Madame had insisted we order some (and in fact we ended up getting a second plate, it was so good). The Aloo Ghobi (spiced potato and cauliflower) and Bhuna Gosht (a pan lamb curry, frying the meat with spices without adding water. The meat then cooks in its own juices which give the deep flavors. All this takes a little extra time but it is worth it as the end result is a very flavorsome rich dish.)
However, my favorite was undoubtedly the Murgh Makhani (pan-fried chicken marinated in a yogurt and spice mixture. The sauce is made by heating and mixing butter, tomato puree, and various spices, often including cumin, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, pepper, fenugreek and fresh cream.) Great taste and I used the chapattis to great effect, scooping up all the remaining sauce. It was certainly an excellent dish.
We enjoyed the ethnic evening, and I was very pleased that Sheela had listened to my request of “not too spicy” and all of the dishes were well within my personal “chilli meter”. Madame was very taken with the chutney (which was spicy) and when wanting more fire would just add some chutney. The dishes were all cooked on the spot, there was no re-heating, and the ambience was very relaxing. If you are a fan of Indian cuisine we can thoroughly recommend the ‘Safron’ Kitchen. And yes, Sheela does take-aways. By the way, I do know that “saffron” usually has two f’s, hence my quotation marks referring to the name of the restaurant as ‘Safron’. However, it just adds to the ethnic purity of the venue!
‘Safron’ Kitchen, Central Pattaya Road (opposite the Electric Authority and 50 meters before Soi 12 on the right), telephone 038 422 722 or Sheela 089 608 9318, open seven days, hours 2 p.m. until 11 p.m., on-street parking.