Location: Level 2, 345 Harbourside Shopping Centre, Darling Harbour
Booking Required: Sometimes.
Indian food is one of the best takeaway foods there is, in my opinion. The spices and flavours just blow my mind. Zaaffran is nothing like the takeaway fare I was used to. I didn’t even bother to imagine what fine-dining Indian-style would be like before I went into this place.
A waiter leads us to our table and the relaxed harbour air washes over us. We’re given a table right on the corner on the balcony which treats us to views of the entire harbour. One of the other people at the table considers himself the Indian-food master so he looks at the menu, while I have a look at the wine list. Well thought out and fairly extensive. Despite the possible clash I’m in the mood for something sparkling so we start with the Chandon NV, which is always good to see on a wine list. I have no idea the names of the things that we start with. Chicken tikka, fried spinach chard with beans and tandoor Indian cheese. All are very good. The spinach dish with beans and spices is amazing. Wonderful balance of flavours and textures. I can’t get enough of it.
For mains we have the standard butter chicken (aka the benchmark for every Indian place), a lamb dish that is similar to a vindaloo and a spinach a cheese. The Chandon is gone so we go for a bottle of the Bollinger Special Cuvee NV. Delicious and the markup isn’t too bad. To accompany the mains we get some saffron and delicious garlic and stuffed naan. The stuffed is particularly good. The mains are just as good as the entrees. While they don’t do anything incredibly special, they are better than the norm.
Service is fairly attentive but they constantly poured the sparkling wines too quickly, forcing us to taste the wine with a huge mousse still sitting there. Still, they are knowledgeable, friendly and relaxed which is what you want.
The price is surprisingly good for such a lovely location. $270 for three, with $150 of that being wine, and we were completely full.
I wouldn’t think this is a place to take friends for an evening curry, but for those times when you need an Indian restaurant with a bit of class, I wouldn’t go past this.
RATING: Will return to