I’ve heard great things about Saf and based on our dining experience there on Tuesday, lives up to its reputation. I know that they recently opened another branch elsewhere in London although hoping this won’t reduce the attention to detail on what they offer. Saf does vegetarian and raw food although doesn’t do anything near bland or ordinary flavours.
I sat at the bar with a friend whilst waiting for the rest of our companions to join us for dinner. The drinks menu includes a whole range of interesting cocktail recipes, made with their home made flavour infusions all focused on in season ingredients and focused on organic foods. The drinks were not only strong but just like the food, packed full of flavour. Their wine menu is interesting and I’m happy to report many a vegan or vegetarian person doesn’t need to think twice about drinking any of them.
The weather was still fairly nice from the glorious sunny weekend and so we sat outside with a number of other diners in their courtyard. Whilst deciding on what to have, we started with some chilli edamame (pictured below) and some cooked mushrooms, both amazingly packed with flavour. I’m not normally a fan of edamame (who needs more salt in their diet!) but these chilli coated ones had enough punch to give you a slight tingle without an overpowering fire taking away from the bean. Definitely very more-ish.
We all decided on having an appetiser and all the vegetarians at the table exclaimed at how much choice there was – explaining that in other restaurants, there’s normally one or two things to choose from. Of course it wasn’t surprising how long it took for us to decide on what to have. I ended up with their Saf Tacos (Chipotle, Guacamole, Tomato & Pineapples Salsas) for £8.25. Their tacos were a trio, filled with a various of differently flavoured salsas and packed plenty of flavour. I suspect the chipotle actually went into the tacos shells, giving it that slightly heated smokey flavour.
I think four of us picked the Aromatic Thai curry (aubergine, snake beans, okra and brown rice) for £13.75. The curry arrived separately from the rice and it seemed much more like a soup than a curry with plenty of liquid floating around. We weren’t sure if this was a normal state because they didn’t even bring us a spoon until towards the end of our meal. Nevertheless, the curry was packed full of flavour and even the “fishing” for vegetables with our fork seemed to be highly entertaining in a bowl that constantly threatened to spill over its lower edge.
Unfortunately I think we hit Saf in between seasons, or just on a bad night because when it came to dessert, out of the six items on offer, we could only really choose from two of them. Everyone else when for the chocolate tart, where I went for the lighter sorbets (scoop of mango and another of passionfruit). I was surprised at how large the scoops were when the arrived and helped to finish off a wonderful meal.
At the end of the meal, we all commented on how full we felt from something you wouldn’t expect to keep you full and also a round of appreciations went around for the complex flavour profiles. Eating at Saf you will end up paying just as much as any other meal, but I do think you’ll feel better for it.
Name: Saf Restaurant & Bar
Found at: 152-154 Curtain Road – Shoreditch London EC2A 3AT