Challenging stereotypical Indian
Thanks to Rush Dossa, part-owner of Zaaffran, for inviting me to their Food Bloggers Evening as a guest to sample a selection of interesting dishes that challenge the common stereotypical belief that Indian may just be Butter Chicken, Lamb Korma and Beef Vindaloo. Apparently there's 22 official languages of India due to the 22 States, and with such diversity the dishes available throughout India are very extensive and varied. With business partner and head chef Vikrant Kapoor at the kitchen helm, Zaaffran aims to tantalise its customers with unique and different dishes and educate them about the misconceptions that Indian food is the same everywhere and mostly spicy. Before dinner guests were invited to the balcony area for pre drinks and appetisers. The 2007 Blickling Estate Riesling 'Methode Champenoise' was a notch up from most general sparklings and the 2009 Blickling Estate Sauvignon Blanc reminded me of a decent Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough NZ. Three canapes were served and the lovely flavoured Prawns in coconut broth was my favourite of the night.
You can't go wrong with fresh Pappadums and mint dip as we sit down for a 5 course menu which is based on their new BBQ Banquet 'F' ($54.50 per person). Potato-corn mini patties pictured above being photographed by Anna from Morsel & Musings were tasty with a bit of a heat kick — I'd gladly have again. The delightful looking Gol guppas was a little messy to fill with the ingredients but fun. It's considered a street snack and even though it wasn't the most flavoursome item on the menu it was very interesting to try. Throughout the night we sampled Garlic, Mushroom, Plain and Buttered Naan — the garlic was my favourite but the mushroom version was a close second although I couldn't really taste the truffle butter in it. Out of all the menu dishes served the western style Salad looked out of place to me and didn't seem to be of Indian origin. 4 choices of Dips were on hand, Prune which was like a BBQ marinate, Beetroot, Chilli tomato which was very tasty and a classic mint.
Decent sized Tandoori king prawns were thankfully deveined and served alongside the Chicken seekh kebab. Both benefitted from a good squeeze of lemon. Seasonal fried fish was barramundi tonight with a slightly crispy coating and was followed by a well presented Baked salmon with fairly bold flavours. Before the 4th course a delicious Mango kulfi palate cleanser was served. Lightly battered Eggplant was topped with interesting flavours followed by small tender Lamb ribs which weren't particularly lean yet tasty. Finely minced Lamb seekh kebab was perhaps my least favourite of the night and would have preferred a bit more smokey flavour. The crunchy side salad of celery, apple, carrot, iceberg lettuce and kaffir lime was lovely. Strawberry lassi comes with rose kulfi giving it a nice refreshing taste. For dessert everyone gets their own well presented plate of Spire of saffron, Cardamom and roasted almonds kulfi, Dome of gulab jamun, Rose kulfi, Brandy glaze. I really enjoyed the rose kulfi, gulab jamun and the piece of layered style cake although I thought the kiwifruit wasn't particularly sweet enough for the dish for my taste buds. The dining area is simple, clean and functional and the service was knowledgeable and attentive. For the best views of the city and water grab a table on the balcony if the weather is nice.
Other blog reviews:
PROS: Knowledgeable and attentive service, Interesting dishes, Nice presentation, Water and city views available
CONS: Watch out for the sliding door bump, More expensive than your 'average' Indian takeaway
MUST TRY: Prawn curry appetiser, Pappadums, Garlic naan, Eggplant, Rose kulfi, Mango kulfi palate cleanser, Other dishes on the menu
Food Bloggers Evening menu based on BBQ Banquet 'F' 5 courses ($54.50 per person)
Potato-corn mini patties
Pre dinner drink: Blickling Estate Riesling 'Methode Champenoise' 2007 New England Tablelands NSW
Dinner drinks: Blickling Estate Riesling 'Methode Champenoise' 2007 New England Tablelands NSW, AJA sauvignon blanc-semillon-verdelho 2008 Polkobin NSW, Kalleske Clarry's Grenache-shiraz 2008 Barossa Valley SA
Chef and Partner Vikrant Kapoor
City skyline view from balcony
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