KARACHI: If you are ready to devour a blend of continental sea food with a desi or more specifically a Hyderabadi touch, Saffron is the place to be. With continental chili prawns and red snapper made in lemon and butter sauce along with mouth-watering Hyderabadi bhagarey jhingey and harra masala fish on their menu, be ready to leave the restaurant licking your fingers.
“I opened Saffron in my house in 2010,” says Ruheena Malik, owner of the restaurant, who won the Pride of Performance award in 1996. “I live upstairs and I thought I should do something creative with the ground portion and thus Saffron came into existence.” Malik admits she was interested in putting some Pakistani dishes on the menu but was discouraged by her friends who felt it wouldn’t have been a wise decision and therefore decided to stick to a continental menu.
Receiving a positive response from food lovers across town, she now feels it’s the right time to incorporate Hyderabadi cuisine. With the help of her friend Saeeda Effendi from Nano’s Hangout, Saffron’s menu saw the introduction of Hyderabadi dishes on its Sunday brunches. This week onwards, it will be an option at dinner as well. The menu also includes a creamy seafood chowder soup, beef stroganoff, Hyderabadi alao bonda and bhagarey baingan.
“Ruheena really wanted to revamp the whole menu,” says Effendi, who looks after the Hyderabadi cuisine while Malik is in charge of the continental menu. “Nobody serves Hyderabadi dishes so we both thought out a plan accordingly and decided to finally opt for it.” If this decision turns out to be a success then the two menus, Sunday brunch and dinner, will be compiled into a single one.
“Everyone who comes to Saffron on Sundays, seems to love our desi cuisine,” she adds. “It’s certainly picking up and the atmosphere is also quite enjoyable with jazz playing in the background.”
Malik further adds, “There is no fine-dining restaurant that serves desi food or even represents our culture and thus I feel it should do well. At Saffron, we believe that desi food needs to go to another level — an international level.” Hyderabadi cuisine was added to the menu in order to bring something new and unique to Karachi’s food industry.
When asked how Saffron attained its name, Malik says: “Saffron is a spice that is used worldwide in all cuisines — they all have it.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2012.
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