Friday evening, faced with a catastrophic three bottle hangover which only butter, salt and chilli could appease, we lazily plied Dragons’ Den favourite Hungry House for a curry from Saffron on the Roundhay Road. Incorrigible creatures of habit, we ordered karahi gosht (baa!), palak paneer, nawabi khan chicken and chana dal, plus rice and roti. The food was delivered swiftly with a temperature that would not shame a sauna, although I had to talk the (very friendly and polite) driver in as apparently it is bad form to allow him to glance at a map before departure.
The complimentary pickle tray and poppadums swiftly dispatched, we set about the plastic containers with happy abandon. Each dish was a potent parcel of explosive individuality that caressed the mouth with a disarming depth of flavour, much more interesting than the generic fare of lesser curry houses who work to the modern McDonald’s ideal of bland, inoffensive* consistency, whereby one chooses a meat of uncertain parentage which is then steeped in Universal Sauce and impregnated with the food colouring that the proprietor feels best corresponds to the name of the particular dish.
Granted, the ingredients (fresh, tender and free of gristle) clearly like to frolic gaily in a glorious inch of ghee, but that is nothing that cannot be remedied by allowing a hungry Felis Catus to skim off the top layer. Kitteh’s tongue bristles with rigid backwards-facing spines about 500 micrometers long and has the wherewithal to move at three feet per second, which helps it to tear through this trifling task in nanoseconds. I immediately thought of Uncle Monty.
It’s obsessed with its gut – it’s like a rugby ball now. It will die, it will die!
Actually I lie. On this occasion we ignored the plaintive mewing and fed viscous run-off to the sink, a provocation which no doubt persuaded the U-bend to start its winter blockage campaign early.
I digress. The palak paneer sported an imposing density of gorgeous silken dairy product, which I would wager is made on the premises, but could perhaps use a touch more fluffy spinach for balance. Application of chilli is liberal here and restrained there, i.e. not thoughtlessly hurled into every dish as per rivals, which was a welcome surprise, while the breads exhibited just the right balance of crunch and yield, a far cry from the steamed pudding or granite biscuits sometimes found lurking in greasy foil.
All in all we were very pleased with Saffron and will surely avail ourselves of their chefs’ delights again.
* This term is used inadvisedly: there is little that is inoffensive about McDonald’s.