US-based Indian restaurant group Saffron Circle has opened its debut UK site in London's Swiss Cottage with Santosh Shah, former head chef of Vivek Singh's Cinnamon Kitchen at the helm.
Founder Lavanya Mahate, who has successfully launched five Saffron Valley restaurants in Salt Lake City, Utah, US, said the restaurant group's mission was "to provide authentic, made-from-scratch Indian food using fresh, local ingredients and exotic flavours that will educate and excite the palate while surprising each guest with high quality, personal service steeped in a culture of warmth and hospitality".
Speaking to The Caterer she said: "Since Saffron Valley started in 2011 I've had a vision to open in London, Chennai and Singapore. London has some of the best casual Indian food outside of India. Its robust dining scene and cutting edge concepts in Indian casual and fine dining made it a natural first choice for the global expansion."
The UK's first outlet in Swiss Cottage promises Indian cuisine in a 'romantic setting' where diners can experience a menu of small plates and craft cocktails, including Love at First Sight, which includes homemade curry syrup, created by master bartender Georgia Billing.
The menu offers vegan and vegetarian options as well as halal meat and includes small plates inspired by the street food of India and 'crowd favourites' such as Chicken 65, a southern Indian delicacy of deep-fried chicken and spices originating from Mahate's East Indian home-town Chennai. Mains feature a selection of grills from the traditional tandoor along with curries inspired by authentic home style recipes from across India.
The 50-cover restaurant has a colour scheme of aged bronze, turquoise and rich blues alongside tiles inspired by old India and hand-painted murals on the walls.
The first Saffron Valley restaurant opened in 2011 as Saffron Valley Indian Street Food Café, with four additional locations following between 2013 and 2019.