Monday, 26 November 2012

Saffran Restaurant - Manchester Trafford Centre


Manchester Trafford Centre restaurant, Tandoori chicken in Trafford centre, Saffran Tandoori Chicken















Last Saturday night we were invited to a new restaurant - Saffran in Manchester's Trafford Centre for a food tasting. Saffran originally came from Iceland, and has a successful branch in Orlando as well that the executive chef of Fifteen and a value member of Jamie Oliver's team went and thoroughly enjoyed. 

According to the UK branch owner Alan, who has kindly agreed to speak to me, they have just opened about a week ago, and has already received fantastic reviews from visiting customers. While chatting with him, a couple who dined at Saffran and were on their way out stopped by to tell him that their food was unexpectedly good, and they believed that the only unhealthy part of their meal was the wine they drank. It made me wanted to try out their food immediately!

Saffran's selling point is their 400C oven cooked Tandoori Chicken and food that are not just tasty but also very healthy because of the way they seasoned, cooked and served them. Usually healthy food in Britain is either boring or expensive, but looking at Saffran's menu, the prices aren't that steep at all. For a 3 course meal including a starter, a main with 2 side dishes, dessert and a drink plus 10% service charges, it's only about £21 for an adult, similar to a pub dinner. So how was their food? We've ordered a starter, 2 mains, 2 children meals and 1 dessert to find out.


Manchester Trafford Centre restaurant, Tandoori chicken in Trafford centre, Saffran Tandoori Chicken















Starter - Saffran Special Spiced Nuts & Seeds (£2.95)

Although spiced, their nuts & seeds are not too hot nor salty that will make you rush for a glass of water. Instead, they are tasty yet you can still taste the flavour of the nuts and seeds itself. It's a favourite between the kids.


Manchester Trafford Centre restaurant, Tandoori chicken in Trafford centre, Saffran Tandoori Chicken















Main - Saffran (Tandoori) Chicken & Red Onion on a Spear with 2 side dishes (£9.85)

Hubby's main. He chose their baked sweet potato, brown & red rice and chilli sambal sauce to go with his chicken. The Tandoori chicken was really tender and juicy, and extremely tasty too! The salad has a delicious dressing on it, and even the side dishes has wowed us. Their brown and red rice, which has always been our favourite in Chaophraya restaurant as well, has more of a bite to it than plain rice, is healthier and has more flavour as well. The baked sweet potato is one of the sweetest I've ever tried in the UK. They are normally quite bland unless you source them from Chinese or Asian stores, so we were really impressed.

Their Saffran chicken was so good we had to order extras for takeaway (on our own expenses of course) as a late night supper to go with a movie.


Manchester Trafford Centre restaurant, Tandoori chicken in Trafford centre, Saffran Tandoori Chicken















Main - Kebab Burger with 2 side dishes (£8.95)

My main. This is the only beef and lamb dish they are currently offering on their menu, so I wanted to try it as a variety. I loved everything about the dish, even the diced onion inside the salad, and I hate raw onions! For some reason it added a touch of freshness to the well dressed salad, which I enjoyed the most. The wheat, spelt & barley bread was a bit stale for me when eaten on it's own, but it went surprisingly well when you eat it together with the burger, salad and sauces. I'd say that it's even better than using a white bun. The burger was well seasoned and went very well with their mixture of yogurt and chilli sambal sauces.

I love it that they serve the burger with a fantastic amount of salad. That's how it should be, a balanced plate of delicious food. It's a welcoming change from the usual peas, mushroom and tomato.


Manchester Trafford Centre restaurant, Tandoori chicken in Trafford centre, Saffran Tandoori Chicken















Children meal - Super Power Chicken (£4.95)

Abby's main. You can see how considerate Saffran is. In case the child couldn't take the heat (it's really not hot at all, just very well seasoned with spices), they have provided a small bowl of yogurt dip for them to cool their food down. The Tandoori chicken was nice with or without the sauce, and Abby was eating her food heartily. She said that the only thing she didn't like was the onions, but loved everything else.


Manchester Trafford Centre restaurant, Tandoori chicken in Trafford centre, Saffran Tandoori Chicken















Children meal - The Best Chicken Burger (£4.95)

The chicken breast burger is a touch on the bland side, but delicious if you eat everything together, just like a burger. Clay absolutely loved their yogurt dip and we eventually had to remove it from his reach as his face was completely covered with it.


Manchester Trafford Centre restaurant, Tandoori chicken in Trafford centre, Saffran Tandoori Chicken















Dessert - Wildberry Mousse (£2.50)

We originally wanted to order their chocolate mousse, the more obvious choice out of the 2, but they were all sold out! Must try it next time. Anyhow, this is a very creamy mixed berry mousse that's made with Greek yogurt and fried almonds. I had been wondering how they sweetened their desserts as they don't use any sugar at all in the restaurant. It was very creamy and smooth, with some chewy bits from the almond and berry skin I think, and the right amount of sweetness. We do think that it would be even better if the raspberry seeds (I'm guessing that's what they were) were taken out.


You can buy bottled drinks from them (although £2.20 a bottle is a bit expensive), and juices will be from a range of J2Os (£2.45). Overall we had a fantastic experience (apart from Clay messing about with his food, it was one of those days...): the food was great, staff were friendly, we sat in Trafford Centre's The Great Hall under the Christmas lights looking out of the window at the Christmassy night view, plus the food was guiltless (apart from my coca cola alright). It is definitely a restaurant I'd recommend people trying out.

Although they have the potential, Saffran aren't serving Halal meat at the moment. Looking at their biggest competitor Nando's, I think it wouldn't hurt for them to consider doing that.


Disclosure: We were invited to review a restaurant with a complimentary meal; all opinions are honest and our own