Go to Saffran - NOW! - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Go to Saffran – NOW!

Go to Saffran – NOW!

Published June 19, 2009

My initial thought after dining at freshman healthy food joint Saffran was to write that single unintelligible line and leave it at that. The food was so superbly prepared and shockingly delicious that I feared my words would not do it justice.
Saffran was packed to the rafters when my lunch date and I arrived. The friendly chatter of happy diners floated up to the high ceilings, filling the bright and airy space with an ambiance of welcoming akin to that found at a large, noisy family gathering where everybody is happy to see each other and to be feasting on the spoils of grandma’s most prized secret recipes. You can tell a lot about a place based on how happy its patrons sound whilst eating and these were some satisfied customers. Despite the high demand, the counter staff was pleasant and polite, taking orders in a smooth and efficient manner.
This being my virgin voyage to Saffran, I opted for the cornerstone of the menu – the Saffran chicken and red onion on a spear (1.430 ISK) from the Tandoori menu, described as “the star and the reason why this place was born.” My dining companion chose the Arabian naanwich (750 ISK), stuffed with shawarma chicken, yogurt-garlic sauce, mixed salad and shiraz salad (diced tomatoes, cucumber and red onion). We also ordered the naan with coconut, raisins and walnuts (170 ISK) to share.
Our orders were brought out rather quickly and were nicely presented. The chicken tandoori was served atop brown rice and accompanied by a sizeable spread of fresh, crisp greens topped with shiraz salad, and a dish of cool, fresh yogurt sauce. One bite of this exquisitely moist, perfectly spiced chicken, set off by the refreshingly tangy yogurt, lead me to exclaim (inwardly, since I had a mouthful of food and my manners are top-notch) “this is the best chicken I’ve ever tasted!” – a sentiment echoed verbally by my date, whose help I implored to finish the ample serving. Seriously, it was so complexly rich and flavourful that one would be a fool to simply say, “it tastes like chicken.”
The naanwich was halved on the diagonal, exposing its fillings, and was sided by fresh yogurt sauce and a tomato-chili sembal. It was the perfect serving size for lunch and was delicious. The naan wrap was soft and fresh and the flavours of the shawarma melded beautifully with the fresh veggies. It tasted crisp and healthy but was anything but boring.
Then there’s the naan with coconut, raisins and walnuts. When we were presented with a small side-plate framing a solitary and miniscule circle of naan, glistening with an unknown sauce, my date and I were admittedly disappointed – coconuts, raisins and walnuts are a flavour combination that we were eager to try and what was presented to us was a visual let-down. However, after one bite I was ashamed for my momentary doubt and almost felt as though I owed the naan my most sincere of apologies. The coconut flavour was sublimely subtle, the raisins and walnuts complimented it deliciously and the sticky syrup that bathed the naan was sweet but not sickeningly so.
I really cannot write enough about this dinning experience. I implore everybody to get themselves to Saffran post haste and taste their offerings firsthand. It is my intention to sample more of this promising menu, which opts-out of such nutritional red flags as white-wheat and sugar, very soon. With everything reasonably priced between 700 and 1500 ISK (less for naan) it will definitely be my pleasure!

  • Saffran: Álfheimum 74 (Glæsibær)
  • Webpage: http://saffran.is/
  • What we think: Wowohmygawdthatwasfíngincredible
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