Let me start off by saying that this is one of Darling Harbours best kept secrets hiding inside Harbourside! It’s got incredible views of the Harbour & it’s interior resembles that of a small palace – Zaaffran
Zaaffran, since its opening 17 years ago wanted to introduce Indian food that wasn’t available in Australia, because surprise surprise (no seriously, I didn’t know this) butter chicken is not an Indian dish! Head Chef Vikrant Kapoor and Freddie Zulfiqar opened Zaaffran in 1998 with a menu that was way ahead of its time for Indian food in Sydney and now, 17 years later are doing it again with their ‘Koomcha’ menu, meaning Indian hawker food, includes a range of Kapoor’s childhood favourites, which he has redefined with flavours and presentation guaranteed to impress. Koomcha dishes are perfect enjoyed as a starter, or you can share a larger selection to get the full experience.
Come fork through Zaaffran with me as we explore the menu!
Kumbh Ka Shikhampur (mushroom) & Chookudar Kay Galavant (beetroot) – both of these canapés hit the spot. They weren’t heavy, not too spice centric and played a great starting point for what was to come.
Crab cakes – perfect way to start table service off, really lite, very meaty & full of flavour
Shanks dé Zaaffran Jalpariyaan – This is one of those dishes that was nice & went down well BUT wouldn’t go back for seconds. Everyone else around the table seemed to enjoy it, so maybe i’m just too picky? haha!
Firangi Franki – the Mexicans could learn something from the baby of Bombay! This little unfolded pocket rocket was mind BOMBaying! Hehe. The lamb, let me tell you, MELTED (you know the way an ice cream melts) in my mouth, perfect!
Gilavaat Double Roti – the “one bite” roti that packs a punch and will put a mini slider to shame! It’s basically a grenade of flavour going off in your mouth but, make no mistake, it fills your mouth more than you think!
Makhani Kebab (chicken tenderloins) – the only way for me to accurately describe this is to ask for another plate! GIMME, GIMME, GIMME MORE!
Paslyaan Manjnoon- When one spoonful isn’t enough to satisfy the post consumption craving! Perfectly cooked Angus beef & an indulgent amount of garam masala – PERFECT!
Naaz-E-Dariya – By far, my favourite dish! The coconut broth and lobster meat had this amazing flavour combination that I usually wouldn’t go for & mixing it with the yoghurt and rice noodles added to the perfection of it. I could have honestly eaten the entire plate myself!
Zaaffran Khoorus Biryani – This bad boy was a very theatrical experience, waiters walked around cutting open, what was essentially an indian chicken pot pie. Flaky pastry on top, garam masala, birsita and mint combined were amazing & I definitely went back for seconds!
Saath Saath (somewhere in the middle)
Kumbhi Naan, Tomato Bhuja (black tempered mustard) & Iceberg Slaw – These 3 bad mamjamas were, what I can only describe, a third entree! Don’t get me wrong, they were great and the flavours were great, but would I serve a middle entree in a 16 course menu, probably not. The sauces with the Naan (topped with mushroom and truffle butter) were on FIYA and me being me, decided that I’d combine all of them on one pice of naan – it works, it’s great & you’re just jealous you didn’t think to do it first! The black tempered mustard tomatoes were great, tomatoes were sweet and the mustard gave it a little kick – not bad yo!
Fares Firangi Phirnee (Indian Rice Pudding), Honey Saffron Panna Cotta , Gulab Aur Elaichi Ka Piyushi (Rose brûlée)…and Fairy Floss –
These 3 came out together and I didn’t know what to do with myself at this point AND THEN someone decided that It would be a great idea to serve us all Fairy Floss to go with everything – because there wasn’t already enough dessert on the table, I needed to multi task and hold one in my hand too! Coming from an ethnic background, rice pudding is basically a staple in dessert selection but the indian version, I have to say, is more creamy than sweet but still stellar! It was served with rice tuile and sorbet which kicked it up to another level! They honey saffron Panna Cotta was more savoury than sweet, I feel like there was a hell of a lot more saffron than honey, so it failed me as a dessert – looked really cool though! To top of this trio of tantalisation, rose brûlée which was on some whole other level of sweet! OH MY FORKING YUM!