For an evening of culinary delights, we were so excited to attend Zaaffran’s VIP menu launch in Darling Harbour, showcasing their new Koomcha trail menu and unique Indian cuisine.
We started off with a sampling of their two famous cocktails – the Watermelon and Tamarind. Each variety was on the opposite end of the flavour spectrum, as the watermelon one was deliciously sweet, and the tamarind was tangy and sour, but both were equally as delicious, and the Tamarind one especially was so unique, and a great accompaniment to the spicy dishes.
We also had the Kumbh Ka Shikhampur canape, which was a mushroom patty that was lightly grilled on the outside and soft and smoky on the inside – so yum!
We then tried some of the new dishes from the Koomcha Trail menu. The owner, Freddie Zulfiqar, explained that while most Indian restaurant dishes originate from either the North or the South, Zaaffran’s concept takes an entirely new stance, and draws its cuisine from Central India. This menu in particular focuses on street-food style dishes, and bite sized pieces that can be shared among friends or family.
Our first highlight was the Firangi Frankie, a multi-grain taco with a spiced lamb interior, which was so well balanced, and was a perfect bite sized portion to pick up and eat. We also loved the Shanoz de Zaaffran Jaipariyaan, which were king prawns grilled in a tandoor with yoghurt and chilli.
Next up was the Kumbhi naan with mushroom and truffle butter, which was so delicious, and served with five accompanying dips – the mango chutney is to die for! We then had our main dishes, the first of which was the Naaz-E-Dariya, a lobster curry in coconut broth served with Iddiappam, a flat lacy rice pancake, which was lovely and rich, with perfectly cooked lobster meat. The next was the Zaaffran Khoorus Biryani, which was uniquely served in puff pastry, which added some great texture and a lighter element to the famous fragrant biryani.
Finally, we finished off with a trio of desserts. My highlight of the day was the Gulab Aur Elaichi Ka Piyushi, a decadent rose crème brulee with fresh strawberries and a cashew praline. It was so sweet and smooth, and a very refreshing end to some huge flavours in the main meals. The flavours were really unique in the other two desserts as well – the Farzi Firangi Phirnee, an Indian rice pudding, and the Honey Saffron Panna Cotta. All of the desserts were divine, and I loved how very authentic flavour combinations were being used to craft these amazing creations.
Zaaffran is located on the second level of Harbourside Shopping Centre, and has both indoor and outdoor seating, and an amazing view of Darling Harbour. The head chef, Vikrant Kapoor, has been with the restaurant for the entirety of the 17 years since its opening, and has played a huge role in choosing dishes for the exciting new Koomcha Trail menu. There is ample seating in the interior, and the restaurant can easily cater for larger groups as well. Apart from the dining space, there is some seating around the bar area to enjoy a drink before dinner, which was beautifully decorated and draped with colourful fabrics.
Zaaffran certainly delivered on its promise of offering flavours of India that have never been tried before. I thoroughly enjoyed the ‘Indian Tapas’ concept of the new Koomcha menu, and there were some stunning flavour highlights, most of all the Rose Brulee.
This is a perfect cuisine to share with family and friends, so give it a try – you won’t regret dining at this hidden gem! You can check our their full menu and make a booking on their website at http://www.zaaffran.com/.
Note: Khana dined as a guest of Zaaffran and Pendulum Communications.