Ilsan – Saffron India (Lakins Mall, Restaurant)

I’ve been busy lately and haven’t been able to post much. I did happen to visit an Indian restaurant for lunch last week so I thought I would post a quick review on that. Hopefully I will be able to get out more in the coming weeks so will be able to do more posting.

I was at Kintex with a friend visiting the recent K-Beauty Expo and we decided to grab some lunch on the way home. The options at Kintex are pretty slim so we walked a bit down the road to Lakins Mall (레이킨스몰).

After some deliberation we decided to try a place called Saffron India. I really like Indian food but I can’t eat anything spicy so trying new places is always a challenge. You never know if the dishes will be too hot. Most places tend to have at least one mild option.

The restaurant is up up on the second floor of the mall. When you get to the top of the escalators go left around to the flower shop and then swing right and walk down a bit. It’s not hard to find and there are lots of other food options up there too.

Saffron India is a nice little restaurant with pretty Indian style decor. It’s not a huge space but they have half a dozen or so tables. The menu is quite extensive and includes fusion type dishes like salads and spaghetti. They also bring out Korean style side dishes for starters. This is an early indication that the food is going to be less traditional and more Koreanized. Not saying that it’s a bad thing but just mentioning it.

I ordered what I usually do at Indian restaurants which is Butter Chicken (Chicken Makahni). I asked if it was spicy at all and when he said no I pressed him to make sure. He said it was definitely not spicy at all. Of course you never know what other people think is spicy especially in cultures that eat a lot of spicy food. This is why I always check and double check and ask if it is really mild a few times.

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Butter Chicken (Chicken Makhani)

My friend ordered the Lamb Makhani and then we each got some basmati rice too. We probably should have ordered some naan bread to see how it was but we didn’t have a lot of time. I do usually like to check the naan when trying new Indian Restaurant.

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Lamb Makhani

It didn’t take too long for our food to come out. The curry is served in a metal bowl on a tealight fueled warmer. That is a nice touch to keep it warm. It was a decent serving size for each of the curries and they had about 4 or 5 pieces of meat in them. The rice was a good size too and came in a pretty leaf shaped bowl.

Unfortunately the Butter Chicken curry I ordered was not mild at all. It was quite spicy and it was the type of hotness that lingered. I couldn’t eat more than a couple of bites. I ended up eating my friends Lamb Curry because it was not as spicy. The lamb dish was quite sweet so I didn’t like it that much either but it was better than mine. I couldn’t eat any more of the butter chicken because the spice just kept building. I didn’t even eat any of the meat this was just from the sauce.

It seems odd that both of them were makhani but mine was more spicy. Wouldn’t they be made from the same base? And I specifically told the waiter that I needed it to be mild. You would think someone working in a restaurant like this would have mentioned that I would be better off with the lamb one. I just can’t believe that he did not know that the Butter Chicken was what someone who asked for extra mild might consider spicy.

Both curries were on the sweeter side. I’ve noticed this tends to be the case when they are catering to a largely Korean customer base. It’s understandable that they incorporate tastes from Korea into their menu to make it more appealing. It’s one of those things that you come to expect in Korea but as a Westerner I’ve never been able to embrace it. I  do think my tolerance for sweetness is a lot higher than it used to be.

The rice was not very good either. It had that re-heated taste and texture to it. It just lacked that aromatic taste and texture like good basmati rice usually has. It did however, like the curries, come in a decent size. I also found a small piece of plastic packaging in my rice. Not the best. It looks a bit like the film that can be created when cooking rice but I investigated it and it was definitely plastic.

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Overall this place was average at best. Although we did only try two curries and rice so this is a limited experience. Unfortunately what I did experience didn’t make me want to go back in a hurry. On the other hand my friend didn’t mind it and it was a pretty cheap meal all up with the addition of a can of coke it came to 30,000 won.

Full Menu Slideshow:

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Address: Lakins Mall, Ilsanseo-Gu, Goyang-Si, Gyeonggi-Do; 경기도 고양시 일산서구 호수로 817 레이킨스몰

 

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