Mr. “C” and I stayed at the Le Touessrok Resort for the weekend, and we thought it is a great opportunity to dine at the Safran restaurant of which we heard so much about.
The Safran restaurant unfolds around an open kitchen, with Tandoori ovens producing gentle aromas of the Indian cuisine.
The restaurant design consist of open sides framed by chic wooden shutters which provide great sea views from the restaurant deck and at the same time welcome the refreshing sea breeze. Together with beautiful glasses, gold leaf plates, and with a contemporary design made with much attention to details, the Safran provides a designer-led ambiance.
When we sat at our table, we had a great view of the sea on one side and of the Le Touessrok’s hotel main shows stage on the other. In this sense, the hotel is designed very smartly, as the stage is placed in between the Safran restaurant and the main restaurant (the 398 restaurant), allowing everyone to enjoy this show while having their dinner.
The strategic location of the Safran restaurant above the main hotel level, together with its open sides design, creates a special unique vibe when dinning at the restaurant and also guarantees a gentle sea breeze of the Indian ocean during the entire meal.
The show was great, and the waiter told us that a show is up on stage every night. On the night we dinned at the Safran, it was a show of about 15 dancers and singers. The dancers changed outfits every so often, according to the tune of the music- ranging from suits to Brazilian costumes. The show consisted of dancing, live band performance, art pieces, acrobatics and many more. For both Mr “C” and I, it made the dinning experience very entertaining and special.
As for our meal, we decided to try the fixed price degustation menu, in which the 5 dishes are accompanied by 5 glasses of wines selected by the chef himself (3300Rs without the wine and 5200Rs with the wines INCLUDING VAT). At Safran it is called the Jugalbandhi menu. Jugalbandhi is a performance in Indian classical music that features a duet of two solo musicians. The word Jugalbandi means, literally, “entwined twins”. The Jugalbandhi menu offers a special duet of the wine and food which go perfectly hand in hand to provide an exciting dinning experience rich with flavors.
The only dilemma we had about having the tasting menu was that we read in one of the local magazines that the Lobster tail dish is one of the best dishes of the Safran and a “must try”, so we asked the chef for a possibility to include a small taste of the lobster dish as part of our menu, and happily for us the Chef agreed to do so.
The waiter then prsented us with 2 types of Papadum and some delicious sauces.
Something I can clearly say about the Le Touessrok that the hotel staff does above and beyond to accommodate you during your stay and they have showed maximum flexibility to any request we had, during dinner and throughout our entire stay.
…Back to the dinner…First we received the Tandoori home smoked spiced salmon, sided by chutney powder marinated grilled prawn. Like all the dishes we were about to receive, it was plated beautifully and looked like modern art.
Mr “C” who doesn’t like Salmon, hesitated if to give the salmon a try, but once he did so and had a little bite, I saw the wonderful amazement in his eyes – he didn’t need to say anything, but then he said – I love it. Needless to say I totally agreed. The smoky flavor enriched the salmon, and made it very moist and totally delicious.
Then we tried the grilled prawn. WOW WHAT A START! – It was so rich with flavors, tasted like paradise!! This dish was definitely one of the best (if not the best) dish we ever had in Mauritius.
This dish was accompanied with a glass of the G.H Martel Brut Prestige – Epernay. The combination between the dish and the Brut was perfect – as the Brut sizzled in the mouth and truly complemented the dish.
The second dish was the Pan seared sea scallops in spice crust, coconut with ginger scents sauce and grilled pineapple, and it was accompanied with Liliane Duboscq Bordeaux Blanc. Both Mr “C” and I are not fans of sea scallops, as they have a very strong taste of the sea. However, Safran’s pan seared sea scallops were very gentle in taste and it was obvious they were very fresh and made with much skill to a prefect cooking level.
The white wine accompanying the dish was very light, matching perfectly to the gentle taste of the scallops.
The third dish was the special addition of the lobster tail dish as per our request. The chef prepared a special tasting size dish of the Tandoori lobster tail with green pea & mustard ‘khichdi” with Pumpkin & curry leaf Porial (normal size main lobster tail dish is offered at 1750Rs).
The lobster tail was fresh, succulent, prepared perfectly and the flavors were great. There is no doubt that the lobster tail is the best part of the lobster, and this dish is a real heaven for any lobster fan. The Khichdi is a South Asian dish made from rice and lentils (dal). In this dish the chef had a personal touch preparing the Khichdi with mustard, which was a delight. The Porial is Stir-Fried cabbage with spices, and was served with pumpkin and curry leaf.
As this dish is not part of the standard tasting menu, we did not receive any wine to accompany it, But with 5 generous glasses of wine as part of this meal who can complain!
The fourth dish (third in the tasting menu) was the Kebabs, with mint coriander, chilly and ginger chicken salad, accompanied with a glass of Haute Cabriere Pinot Noir Chardonnay Franschhoek, South Africagreen.
The kebabs were very rich in flavor as they had so many spices, such as coriander leaves, mint leaves, green chilli, garlic cloves, ginger peeled, cloves, cardamom, cumin seeds, cinnamon and lemon juice. The meat was soft and juicy, and cooked to perfection.
The Haute Cabrière Pinot Noir has a unique elegance and balance, and fruitful intensity. It is refined, with a firm acidity and an abundance of ripe fruit on the bouquet and palate. As such, matched very well the kebabs and allowed their flavors to shine.
Then we were surprised to be served a Tamarind and curry leaf sherbet. This small dish is one of the little extras you get to enjoy as part of the meal when having the Jugalbandhi menu. The sherbet is made from water, sugar, flavoring, and milk or cream. The aim of this dish is to cleanse the palate before the main dish.
It had the most unique flavor I had ever tasted. I personally thought it was too overpowering and I had only a taste before offering Mr. “C” to have the rest of the sherbet. Mr “C” gladly had both sherbets in attar delight.
The choice of the sherbet was very wise, as Tamarind is such a versatile ingredient - sweet and sour and suitable for both sweet and savory dishes.
Then we were served the main dish as part of the Jugalbandhi menu, a Roasted rack of Lamb marinated with garam masala and yoghurt, lentil & lamb jus, saffron pulaom accompanied with a glass of Linderman ‘Bin 50’ Shiraz – Australia.
From my experience, a lamb marinated in garam masala which has been slow-cooked, can so often turn into a mush, but I guess the skilled hands of the Safaran chef, know better than that, and the lamb was cooked to perfection. The lamb was exactly how it should be, very rich in taste and at the same time retained its texture and bite.
With it came garlic nan and more homemade chutneys.
As for the wine, Lindeman’s is a medium full-bodied wine, with plum and dark berries, a rounded, seamless texture and hint of vanilla; nice on its own and worked great with the lamb.
Here I must be frank – at this stage I was already so full, I could hardly have one bite of the lamb. The way the tasting menu is set, is apparently perfect in the amount of dishes and their portions, and I guess the extra dish we had as part of the meal (the lobster tail dish) had its effect on me.
Mr “C” and I both were super happy to have tasted the lamb, however I left half of the marinated lamb on the plate and only wished I had the capability of an Elk in having the lamb in full and store it for “winter days”.
Full as I was, and as I always tell my friends and family, no matter what, there is always some place left for dessert. I guess I have a separate storing place in my stomach for desserts
The dessert was Mango Kulfi, a popular frozen milk-based dessert, which was served alongside “Gulab Jamun’, an Indian sponge cake in rich cardamom syrup.
The Gulab Jamun was very special. The chef succeeded to upgrade this traditional dish and update it to our modern times. The Gulab Jamun was made of a dark brown, cinnamon and cardamon-flavored cake-ball floating in a shallow bath of sugar syrup. The Mango Kulfi, was very light and refreshing and together, these two parts of the dessert worked incredibly well, as did the warmth of the doughnut-like cake against the creamy, cold Kulfi.
The Mango Kulfi was particularly well balanced – not too creamy or too light, not too tart or too sweet;
The accompanying wine to the dessert was the Bava Bass Tuba Muscato D’asti, Piedmont, Italy.
We ended this amazing meal with homemade friandises and a selection of freshly brewed coffee and tea which are included in the price of the meal.
Friandises is a French term for confections-such as truffles, mints or petit fours-served after the dessert course.
After the dinner, Mr “C” had to drag me out of the restaurant, as I couldn’t move. My stomach was so full, the wine made me tipsy and happy and I felt like I am on the top of the world. Luckily for us, our room was less than 50 meters away from the restaurant.
The dinner we had in the Safran was definitely one of the best we had in our life, and not doubt it is one of the very best Mauritius has to offer.
I would like to add several notes regarding the Safran Restaurant and its chef:
About the chef : Ramesh hailing from Bangalore in southern India has experience in both traditional & contemporary Indian cuisines. Having been trained by Michelin starred Indian Chefs in London, Ramesh has taken Indian cuisine to greater heights & world recognition. During his culinary journey with Le Touessrok, he has traveled extensively to Europe to promote the contemporary Indian cuisine that has won Safran numerous accolades. Ramesh Bundi is ‘The’ star now at Safran and has elevated it to a new dimension, transforming the Safran into one of the most renowkn contemporary Indian restaurants in Mauritius.
The manager, Mr Noel Marianne, was very helpful and showed everyone at the restaurant his personal care and professionalism. He personally greets every dinner, making sure each diner receives a personal dedicated service.
The chef grows most of the spices and vegetables at the hotel garden. It is called the chefs garden, and everything at the restaurant is made fresh on the premises.
As for the commitment to quality it is everywhere – the staff, the food, the decor. We enjoyed one of the best meals and best dining experiences we’ve had in a long time, if not ever.
Regarding the prices, it is true that Safran is more in the high-end scale price range of the restaurants in Mauritius. This is why for this price level, I did expect something close to perfection, and the Safran fulfilled my every expectation. Actually both Mr. “C” and I felt we did get an amazing dinner and a unique dinning experience which is definitely worth the price of the meal. We got to enjoy 5 amazing dishes, 5 glasses of the best wines, many extras which are offered complimentary as part of the meal (butter naan, bread, sherbet, papadom, coffee/tea, friandises…), see a great show and dine in a beautiful restaurant in a perfect setting (sea view, candle light, top service…)
The 5 glasses of wine which were served as part of the meal (included in the menu price) cost Rs 4,880 in total when ordering these not as part of the Jugalbandhi menu meal. This is why, it is definitely recommend, to choose the menu in full with the wines, and benefit a once in a life time food and wine dinning experience.
Here is the list of wines offered as part of the Jugalbandhi menu meal:
G.H Martel Brut Prestige – Epernay (glass 945 Rs)
Liliane Duboscq Bordeaux Blanc (glass 495 Rs).
Haute Cabriere Pinot Noir Chardonnay Franschhoek, South Africa (glass 1625 Rs)
Linderman ‘Bin 50’ Shiraz – Australia (glass is 1310 Rs).
Bava Bass Tuba Muscato D’asti, Piedmont, Italy (glass 505 Rs).
The prices are per glass when ordering these wines not as part of the Jugalbandhi dinner menu.
All the prices mentioned in this review are VAT INCLUSIVE
The restaurant accepts all credit cards and cash in rupees, euro and US $ – Cheques are not accepted.
We were guests of Safran.