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Published May 18th 2015
Fine-Dining Indian Restaurant on Sydney's Waterfront
When I think of Indian food, the simple butter chicken, tandoori curry and naan breads are the first things that pop into my mind. Zaaffran Indian Restaurant has taken the spicy and exotic Indian food to a royal level by offering a breathtaking harbour view and spectacular food presentation.
Zaaffran Restaurant is considered to be one of the finest Indian restaurants in Sydney and is situated close to the Sydney CBD, right on the waterfront at Darling Harbour, across Cockle Bay and King Street Wharf. It is the ideal venue for a celebration.
Tonight, it was a special occasion and we have pre-booked a private function area for up to 20 diners. Upon our arrival, Zaaffran was filled with aromatic scent of Indian spices and the atmosphere was buzzing with anticipation and liveliness as dishes were delivered to tables. Our tables by the window was ready for us.
Our host for the evening was very friendly and knowledgeable. He warmly informed us that the name Zaffran is Indian word for Saffron, which is an exotic spice known for its exquisite aroma, colour and flavour.
The Royal Banquet Grand Feast is one the most popular and affordable menus where every diner get to sample all the signature dishes that Zaaffran has on offer and it only costs $47 per person for an extravagant 3-course menu.
The king prawn tandoori was grilled in a minty yoghurt marinade with ginger, green chilli and 'amchoor' and it was juicy and tender. The chicken tenderloin was gilded in tandoori gold with pepper, ginger, garlic and curry leaf and it had a unique flavour. Lastly, the lamb cutlet was tandoori smoked with a pounded spice mix of cardamom, cloves, star-anise, bay leaf, onion and garlic crust but it was slightly over-cooked for my liking.
All three entree dishes were filled with flavours that really awakened the senses. Perhaps it was part of the fine-dining setting, but the servings were not overly generous.
The first dish was the tiger prawns in a ragout of tomatoes, onions and coconut milk spiced with 'bhoj' compound mix. It was a tasty dish and not overpowering.
The second dish was chicken simmered in a cardamom-bay leaf flavoured tomato sauce with cream and sun-dried fenugreek leaves. It was a fragrant dish filled with distinctive spices that really satisfied the taste buds.
The third dish was the diced lamb slow cooked with ginger and garlic in a caramelised onion tomato masala and invigorated by an infusion of nutmeg, mace, cardamom and 'tej''.
The fourth dish was the beef braised in a red chilli, rice vinegar, coriander, pepper, cinnamon and onion sauce. The flavours worked really well together, but the intensity of the spice was slightly overpowering.
My favourite dish was the selection of seasonal vegetables and potatoes in a tomato-onion sauce. It was creamy, smooth and flavoursome.
There were two desserts on offer. The first one was the Toblerone inspired pyramid with chocolate sauce, marinated oranges. The second one was the pyramid of rose with lychee and pistachio ice cream and caramelised orange reduction.
Both of these desserts were refreshing and tasteful after a heavy royal banquet.
Overall, we were well-looked after by the staff from the beginning to the end. The celebration ended on a high note. The guest-of-honour was really satisfied and we certainly enjoyed ourselves immensely.
Zaaffran is pricier compared with other Indian restaurants, but the price is worth it for a stunning harbour-view, a great vantage point to watch the Saturday night fireworks, an authentic Indian banquet and exceptional hospitality