Restaurant review: SAFFRAN at the Trafford Centre

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NORMALLY when I eat out I pay some attention, if only halfheartedly, to the calorie count of the dishes on the menu and mostly try to select something vaguely healthy.

So when I heard about a new fusion restaurant opening at the Trafford Centre which promises tasty and filling dishes, each containing no more than 650 calories, I was intrigued.

Icelandic chain SAFFRAN, which has restaurants in Iceland and the USA, has opened its first UK eatery in the shopping centre’s Orient section.

As soon as we walked in I was struck by the modern, yet welcoming, decor and the relaxed vibe.

We were shown to our table and, after looking at the enticing menu and listening to the manager’s recommendations, we chose the restaurant’s signature dish, the SAFFRAN chicken, and piri piri chicken.

The SAFFRAN chicken is cooked in a tandoori clay oven and was served with red and brown rice and salad.

Flavoured with saffron and other spices, the meat was incredibly moist and tender and there was plenty of it while the salad was fresh and crunchy. We were also served a yoghurt sauce which complimented the lightly spiced chicken perfectly.

The piri piri chicken was served with the same rice and salad and, for me, eaten with the piri piri sauce, had the right amount of heat.

Again, the portion size was generous and there were big succulent chunks of chicken on the plate.

The meal was very filling, making it difficult to believe the dishes contain just 650 calories. But, as the manager explained, the restaurant chain prides itself on the fact it uses only natural ingredients, makes its own sauces and dips and doesn’t fry any of the food.

Even though we were full we still had room left for a velvety chocolate mousse which, despite the low calorie count, managed to be both chocolatey and light.

We went for the dishes that were recommended to us but SAFFRAN has a varied menu, with its own take on burgers, naanwiches and pizzas – called safflats.

With all the main menu items costing less than £10, it is definitely value for money and I for one will be making a return visit.