Thursday, 1 December 2011

SAFA, CAMBERWELL



I don’t usually blog about restaurants – for a start I can’t afford to eat out a lot and so don’t feel particularly qualified to comment as I can’t compare Heston’s latest offering with Roganic.  But occasionally Mr Redding and I find ourselves desperate for something to eat and need it NOW rather than wait to get home and either cook something or order a carry out. So, we found ourselves at Camberwell Green at 9.15 in the evening, hungry and craving Indian food. I had noticed Safa a couple of times on my way to the Crooked Well or Stormbird, and we pushed open the door....
Safa is a bright, modern, smart restaurant, all wood, green and black leather. The staff are elegantly dressed in black with toning green ties and are effortlessly attentive and charming.  The wine list is small but beautifully marked and we ordered a bottle of Chardonnay with a hint of Gewurtztraminer. Poppadoms arrived and that’s when we started thinking Safa might be a bit of a find. A tray of four obviously homemade chutneys came with them – yoghurt flavoured with green chilli and coriander; tamarind; tomato and red chilli and a hot mango chutney. All delicious.
Starters were mixed vegetable pakora and Amritsai fish – chunks of cod and cauliflower, potato, aubergine and onion all deep fried in a spiced batter and served with a mint and lime sauce and a red chilli sauce. All delicious – mmm....
Then came the main course. Methi Gosht was full of fresh fenugreek and very tender lamb with just enough fat to really accentuate the flavour. I think it was neck fillet, one of my favourite cuts. Chicken Xiacutti was truly mouthwatering – chicken cooked in traditional Goan style with pickling spices. Tarka dall was tempered with red chilli, garlic and cumin seeds and the naan bread was light and plentiful.
Along with a bowl of pilao rice the bill came to exactly £40. The reason it is so reasonably priced whilst delivering a very high quality product is primarily because the portions aren’t huge. The starters are more like appetisers and the main courses would not satisfy someone looking for a post pub curry blowout. If you’re really hungry you would probably order 3 main courses between 2. But it hit the spot for us and we both felt it was one of the best Indian meals we had experienced – and between us we’ve had quite a few, from Chutney Mary and Ma Goa to the cheap and not so cheerful.
So if you’re stuck in Camberwell Green looking for a bite of something pop in and see the lovely people at Safa – they will make you feel very welcome and I am sure you will love the food.

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