Carrying on with its tradition of dishing out indulgent north west frontier cuisine, Zaffran's second outlet in suburban Malad will have patrons coming back for its succulent murgh malai tikkas and authentic sherbet

Zaffran has been a delight of a restaurant for many years now. The traditional culinary enthusiasm of this  Crawford Market landmark now extends its boundaries to the suburbs, to Malad's Infinity 2 mall. Naturally, we were curious to savour if the zing in Zaffran was intact.

Murgh Malai Tikka

As you enter the mezzanine, a stylish yet comfortable atmosphere welcomes you. The inexhaustible menu showcases numerous vegetarian and non-vegetarian starters. Cushy booths, soft lighting, attentive service make Zaffran the perfect choice for a relaxing family culinary experience.

But don't walk into Zaffran expecting calorie conscious Indian food, you will be disappointed. This is the real deal. North-West Frontier cuisine at it's best. Zaffran stays true to tradition and indulges in the aromatic and sometimes spicy flavours, and most dishes contain liberal amounts of oil. Though it contributes to a richer sensation and flavour.

Our meal begins with the Chilly Cheese Pakora (Rs 250), which arrives at our table minutes after we order it. Deep fried batter rich cheese (not paneer) is served with an amalgamation of stuffed vegetables on the inside. The bite-sized bits burst with cheese as you nibble into them, and a plethora of sliced and diced potatoes, black pepper and sesame. Excellent.

Next, the Murgh Malai Tikka (Rs 295) uses yummy yoghurt in the marinade; besides adding to the creaminess, it also set this recipe apart from several Indian tandoori chicken recipes that use traditional cream. The Murg Malai Tikka was tender, succulent and fragrant ideal combination for a dry chicken dish! The pieces of chicken melted in the mouth and the distinct flavours from the herbs and spices were evident in the chicken grilled to perfection.
To wash these down we order the Sherbet (Rs 125) and the Virgin Mojito (Rs 125). Both drinks are excellent. The Sherbet will take you back to the rose aroma-filled streets of an iftaar party in Mohammed Ali Road while the Virgin Mojito is the magical combination of lemonade mixed with mint sprigs and sugar.

For our mains, we go with the chef-recommended Nihari Gosht (Rs 375), which is essentially a stew, made from lamb. The dish is served with mutton gravy, delicately balanced and garnished with fresh coriander and ginger juliennes. The only complaint is that the meat should have been of the tender, melt-in-the-mouth variety.

While the skin to bone ratio was satisfactory, some pieces could have been better cooked.

The Butter Kulcha (Rs 50) and the Laccha Paratha (Rs 60) are easily the best in their category nicely buttered, and delicious to be eaten plain. The Gulab Jamun (Rs 85) was drenched in sugar syrup and flavoured with cardamom seeds and rosewater. It took ten minutes to cool down before we could eat it. Worth the wait.

At Infinity 2, Link Road, Malad (W); CALL 64502828 / 64502929

Zaffran didn't know we were there. THE GUIDE reviews anonymously and pays for meals