We are big fans of authentic Northern Indian Cuisine and also enjoy local neighborhood restaurants, so we ventured to the cute hamlet of San Carlos on the Peninsula, where we found Saffron Indian Bistro. We were told that they had just hired a new Executive Chef, ParveenSharma, who is an acclaimed Indian Chef from New Delhi. Chef Sharma is quite accomplished and has even prepared dinners for Indian Prime Ministers and England’s Prince Charles.
We were seated at a table by the window where we could see the pleasant interior décor and the comings and goings on the street including the Holiday lights. The Starters that we tried were excellent. The Saffron Sampler included perfectly prepared Vegetable Samosas and Vegetable Pakoras. They were crispy and lightly spiced. We really enjoyed the dipping sauces which added nice dimension to our dinner and included a spicy Mint Sauce, Cucumber Raita which is yoghurt and cucumber sauce and the Mango Chutney. Next we enjoyed the Dal Shorba which is traditional yellow lentil soup topped with cilantro which was delicious. Be sure to have an assortment of their Clay Oven baked Naan breads which were the best we’ve ever had! The Pesto Naan was unique, perfectly seasoned and quite delicious.
The Entrees were all served piping hot. We loved the Chicken Korma which is chicken cooked with curry spices, garlic and yogurt in a coconut based sauce. This dish has a rich creamy sauce with tender pieces of chicken. It is served mild but you can ask for it to be spiced up to medium or hot. What a great new addition to the menu! We enjoyed the Saag Paneer which is creamy spinach cooked in an exotic blend of spices with bite size pieces of paneer cheese. It was served as an entree this evening and we have also enjoyed it as a side dish. You must have the sweet, tender and delicious Butter Chicken which is their signature dish. Roasted Chicken is folded into a tomato and fenugreek based sauce. This is a delightful entree and a favorite of their customers.
The Wine List features California wines and is very affordable. We liked that wines by the glass were served in carafes which allows the wine to breathe and portion control. The Pacific Oasis Chardonnay and the Rancho Sisquoc Riesling paired well with our starters and the Harlow Ridge Pinot Noir paired well with our entrees. The Desserts were also excellent and perfect portions. We loved the Gajar ka Halwa which is grated carrots cooked with milk and sugar until caramelized then garnished with nuts and served hot. The Gulab Jarmun is hot cheese dumplings simmered in sugar syrup sauce then garnished with coconut and pistachios. This was fun, fabulous and quite unique. The Kheer Badami is a creamy rice dessert with cardamom and almonds. Anyone who loves rice pudding will be wild about this Indian interpretation.
Saffron Indian Bistro serves their full menu dinner on Monday and Wednesday through Saturday and a Prix Fixe buffet for Daily Lunch and Dinner on Sunday and Tuesday. They offer Catering, Delivery and have their own Indian Mobile Kitchen Saffron Food Truck which they use for catering and special events. They use no trans-fat and 100% cholesterol free oil and can accommodate vegan, gluten free, dairy free or nut free, as well as hot and spicy requests. Congratulations to Restaurateur Ajay Walia on Saffron Indian Bistro’s 10th Anniversary. He is passionate about flavors, the dining experience and service and has created a family friendly neighborhood Indian Bistro with great cuisine that pleases the senses and warms the soul. We looked forward to our next visit to try other menu items from Chef Sharma.
By Carol & Joe Davis
Saffron Indian Bistro
1143 San Carlos Avenue
San Carlos, CA. 94070
Sidewalk Seating Weather Permitting