The Food Byte: Zafran

Saturday, August 6, 2016

You know that feeling when you find a restaurant with good food and service, right? It's pure joy when the restaurant meets your expectations. I've been to several cafes, restaurants, food trucks and venues that sell a quick bite and just like several people, I have my favorites. I also have a list of restaurants who have not made my list and it's not because of the service but primarily because of the food.

While Dubai has more than a handful of  good to great restaurants, there are a few gems you discover that are worth the time and money. One such restaurant is Zafran.

Zafran specializes in North Indian cuisine but you'll find them digressing a bit. The interiors are beautiful and the atmosphere welcoming. When we got there, the restaurant was surprisingly busy with a few empty tables, which were occupied shortly. The menu has a vast selection of appetizers, mains and desserts; it get can get a little overwhelming because almost every dish on the menu is mouthwatering.

Since, it's summer we ordered a cooling Mango Lassi and Mango Passion. While both were as expected, the Mango Lassi, a yogurt based drink blended with mango gets me every time. Mangoes aren't my go-to fruit but they definitely make a delicious smoothie.

For the appetizers, we feasted on Papdi Chaat and Masala Fried Fish. The former is a dish made of mini flour pastries, topped off with spices infused potato cubes and a generous helping of yogurt mint sauce.

It's quite delicious and the medley of yogurt, mint and spices all create a savory harmony. The Masala Fried Fish was a delight as well. While I don't quite favor seafood, I did have a bite of this and the distinct flavors of curry leaf and pepper made it quite enjoyable.

The main courses arrived right in time and our table was a spread of chicken and seafood. Let's start with the Tandoori King Prawns. While I'm no seafood lover, I had to savor this just because they looked quite appetizing. They were king sized, had a distinct hue to it and were grilled.

I sampled a small piece and I was pleasantly surprised by how delightfully delicious it turned out to be! The prawns were cooked to perfection- the meat was tender, the flavors of the tandoori masala tantalized my taste buds and I ended up eating a whole king prawn. This is the second best seafood dish I've savored in a long time (the first being salmon).

I was quite excited to order a unique chicken curry known as Pepper Chicken.

The idea of pepper and chicken in a curry piqued my interest; I'm so glad this didn't disappoint. A fine concoction of tender boneless chicken, black pepper, fried onion and curry leaves impart an incredible flavor. Eating this with a garlic flatbread made every bite even more appetizing.

The Prawn Makhani is a seafood lovers delight. The soft and chewy prawns burst with flavor derived from the smooth sunset hued tomato and cashew nut curry.

No South Asian meal is complete without rice. The Zafran Chicken Biryani and the Prawn Biryani are pure royalty.

Aromatic Basmati rice with generous helpings of spice infused chicken (or prawn) will leave you licking your spoon. I feel Biryani is the king of Indian/Pakistani dishes. Am I right?

What's a meal without desserts?. Having a sweet tooth, I couldn't decide on which dessert to get due to the variety on the menu and reading the description of each, made me want to order all of it! And I could- through the Desserts Platter!

You have to give the Zafran management brownie points for this selection. The platter consists of all desserts off their menu but in smaller servings. It's perfect, really.

I absolutely loved Gajar Halwa- a carrot based dessert. The best part? It is freshly made in the kitchen every day. Nothing beats that!

The Gulab Jamuns, Kulfi ice-cream with almond and pistachio and the Ras Malai were all beyond delicious. I was actually left speechless while tasting spoonfuls of each dessert. My favorite out of all? The Kulfi ice-cream.

I had quite a gastronomic adventure at Zafran and loved everything I savored. The service is impeccable and I suggest you book your table to avoid standing in queues. I'm eyeing the Kebab Platter for my next visit. You must try Zafran for good Indian food and I strongly recommend the Tandoori King Prawns, Chicken Biryani and the desserts platter.

A meal on average will cost you about AED 200-250 for 2 people. Zafran is located at Mirdiff City Centre, Dubai.

Zafran Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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