Restaurant Review - The Saffron Room, Prestbury

The extensive wine list at The Saffron Room in Prestbury perhaps gives a clue that this is not the average high street curry house. With Krug on the champagne list, you can expect a curry that's a cut above

So, when you sip your Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 1996 – ‘available on request’ at �2,866 a bottle - just how hot do you like your accompanying curry?

If you think that the last place you’d expect to see such an exalted and expensive champagne is on the wine list of an Indian restaurant - where lager has been traditionally the favoured tipple - think again. For we’re in Prestbury after all, heart of Cheshire’s Golden Triangle; where the White House has become a curry house, albeit a very ambitious one.

The Saffron Room is ensconced in the iconic listed building on the main street of the village and, it seems, owner Sanaam Ahmed is well aware that, in his words, ‘it was a major part of what made Prestbury a great place for an evening out with friends, almost part of the fabric of Prestbury life.’ Thus the Saffron Room’s website mission statement expresses the intention ‘that the reputation of The White House for fine dining is maintained and enhanced, providing the residents of Prestbury and local areas the opportunity to experience Indian fine dining at its best.’

The layout of the Saffron Room follows that of its predecessor – an intimate bar as you go in leading to a cosy, low-ceilinged dining area and conservatory in which unclad wooded tables and chairs upholstered in purple are arranged to accommodate 70 covers. Decor is modern and stylish in shades of grey and softly lit with spotlights and impressive sword-shaped metal wall sconces. Apart from the brass elephants in a niche there are few nods towards any of the familiar curry house clich�s.

The menu carries the usual run of set meals, banquets and traditional curries, but the highlighted ‘Chef’s Speciality Starters’ and ‘Signature Dishes’ offer plenty of interesting temptations and the fish choices look impressive. After beginning in the usual fashion with papadums, pickles and chutneys, it was to the exotic specials that we turned, being careful not to fall into the trap, as we so often do, of over-ordering.

I started with monkfish cooked with spring onions and peppers and garnished with crispy salad with tomatoes (�8.50). Presentation was very attractive, but for me the monkfish was rather bland and needed more oomph – either from a spicier marinade or a sauce, which it lacked. By contrast Mrs K’s garlic king prawns, served in almost exactly the same accompaniments as the monkfish, carried much more of an appealing flavour kick.

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For the main courses we shared two of the Saffron Room’s ‘Signatures’ – Exotic Biriyani (�12.95) and Blue Water Duck (�12.95), the latter dish much enjoyed when the restaurant’s team had the Cinnamon Lounge in Holmes Chapel. Both choices were excellent. The biriyani came with a mild vegetable curry and the rice, topped by a fluffy omelette, was generously studded with chunks of barbecued chicken and tender lamb. The subtle spices produced delicious aromas and flavours.

The duck comprised tender breast fillets marinated in aromatic spices and served with a rich green and red pepper sauce lifted by garlic: a treat. Having shared the biriyani we ordered no further rice and shared one excellent, light and puffy garlic nan. Mission accomplished, we ate the lot.

Despite the four figure flights of fancy on the wine list, it does also feature plenty of drinkable choices at the other end of the price scale and our vibrantly fruity Argentine sauvignon blanc came in at around �16. By the time we left, the Saffron Room was packed: its popularity well and truly established.

The Saffron Room, The White House,New Road, The Village, Prestbury,Cheshire SK10 4DG.Tel : 01625 828220;

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