Fed up with the cold dark nights, my friends and I decided to meet up-mid week at the Saffron Lounge Indian restaurant on Carlton Road for a curry and a catch-up.
Stepping inside from the cold, we instantly knew this was not your run-of-the-mill curry house.
The decor is modern and vibrant, with brightly-coloured wallpaper, funky furniture and shimmering chandeliers.
There’s even a wide-screen TV in the waiting area playing Bollywood hits old and new to keep you entertained.
We were given a friendly welcome and shown to our table to peruse the menu while we tucked into the poppadoms and tasty dips.
There was plenty of choice - from traditional curry favourites such as rogan josh, jalfrezi and madras prepared with your choice of meat, prawns or vegetables to an enticing-sounding range of Chef’s Signature Dishes.
These included the Tangha cooked with cherry tomatoes, garlic and lime to the exotic Shatkora - named after the tangy aromatic vegetable from Bangladesh.
There was also a great range of starters, tandoori specialities , seafood, balti and biriani dishes as well as vegetarian side dishes.
We decided to go for old favourites, with my friends going for Chicken Bhuna and Korma while I went for Vegetable Jalfrezi, priced at £5.80 for the chicken dishes and £4.95 for the veggie one.
We also ordered a selection of plain and garlic coriander naans plus a pilau rice each.
We settled back with our drinks and waited for our food to arrive, which soon came piping hot and attractively-presented.
We all thought our curries looked and tasted really delicious and perfectly-spiced and the portions of pilau rice were most generous.
But the revelation of the night were the naan breads. They were hot, fluffy and really tasty and perfect for scooping up the thick curry sauce.
The service was friendly and attentive throughout and never at any point we were rushed or ignored.
Our bill came to £45 with wine which was pretty good value for money.
So many Indian restaurants can feel tired and dreary but this curry house was a perfect example of somewhere which prides itself on serving traditional favourites with a modern twist.
We arrived early for our meal but the restaurant soon started to fill up and by the time we left there was a lovely warm and relaxed atmosphere which suited Saffron Lounge’s name perfectly.
by Chantal Spittles