(possibly the first of an occasional series, or perhaps just a one-off…)
On Sunday I went along to have a meal at a new Indian/ restaurant in the centre of Crawley, the Saffron Lounge. The place only opened up last week, and due to the timing, it was a very quiet night. The staff were friendly without being intrusive (a common problem on a slow night). The decor is determinedly modern, with much of the wall tiled in pale stones – which made it appear a little antiseptic. Green and orange were the main colours, incongruously set off by neon blue uplighting in the ceiling. The similarity of the scheme to that of the toilets was a little off-putting.
The food itself was clearly designed to be a move away from the traditional ‘curry house’ menu. The owners are also involved with the Taj Mahal at the south end of the High Street, and it appears to have been pitched to compete directly with the Blue India on the opposite side of the road. The prices were a little on the high side, but the choice was certainly wider than the usual fare.
For starters we had a mixture of tikka pieces of meat and fish, and each of them were very distinct and superbly cooked. For main I had a biryani with chicken and Ms Danivon chose a lamb Bhuna. When they arrived, the portions looked a little on the small side, and we had to return a plain rice as it was cold to touch. However, it turned out that the food was rich enough not to require much more, and the hot rice was quickly and efficiently returned. We had breads as well, a lovely and not-at-all greasy garlic naan, and a surprisingly light and tasty aloo paratha.
Overall, we were pretty happy, although with the aforementioned Blue India nearby and the recently relaunched Zari’s in Ifield as competition, as well as a recently modernised Taj Mahal, it remains to be seen whether Crawley can sustain another up-market restaurant specialising in Southern Asian cuisine.
Food – Very good (7/10)
Value for Money – Pricey but not unreasonably so (6/10)
Atmosphere – Austere (4/10)
Service – Friendly and effcient (7/10)
5 Grand Parade,
res. 01293 529946