Saffron (Nairobi)

The Ya Ya center is an unbelievably modern luxury shopping mall, featuring all sorts of western and Kenyan stores selling all imaginable kinds of products. If you want a brand-new camera, a safari outfit, a carved bedroom set or a violin, this is the place to get it. Expect to pay around the same than you would at home (though it could be more, specially now that the dollar is so weak).
It also features several restaurants. Saffron is its Indian offering. We went there for lunch today, and I was pretty impressed. The food was quite good, the service was excellent and the company, of course, was great. The restaurant itself is open to the mall, so it doesn’t have much on the way of atmosphere, but it’s nice enough.
The menu features many dishes that are familiar to western Indian food aficionados. There is chicken korma, tikka massala and tandoori. There is rice and naan. There are plenty of vegetarian offers. They have lassies (Ks100 – $1.50) – though my sweet lassi was too sour and not sweet enough – and massala tea (Ks 90 – $1.35). In other words, if you are in the mood for Indian food, chances are you can find something here to fit your mood.
I was about to play it totally safe and order the chicken korma, my favorite, but decided to go for the Kashmiri lamb curry (Ks 450 – $6.75) instead. It was quite good, sweet and with balanced flavors. I’d been concerned about the tenderness of the meat, but it was cut in very small portions and it wasn’t at all tough. The portion was quite generous (as were all), specially when eaten with rice (Ks 170 – $2.55). I did ask for the curry to be “medium” spice, but it was pretty mild. If you like a little fierness, go for hot.
One of my colleagues had chicken naji and another had the fish naji (Ks 550 – $8.25 each). I didn’t try the fish, but the chicken was moist and while the curry was a little too tame for my taste, it was very pleasant, with sweet, soft flavors. My colleague really liked it.
The naan (Ks 60 – $1) was fine, your typical naan, as was the pappadum (Ks 40 – $.60). The sweet and sour sauce had a nice punch.
In all the lunch was very pleasant, we spent quite a lot of time over it, and I’d definitely go back. Lunch for three, including drinks and tax, came out to Ks 2560, $38. It seems expensive, but Nairobi is quite an expensive city.
Saffron
Yaya Center
Argwings Kodhek Road
Nairobi
387-7236

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