Worldwide icon-chevron-right South Pacific icon-chevron-right Australia icon-chevron-right Sydney icon-chevron-right Saffron Restaurant

Saffron Restaurant

Restaurants, Middle Eastern Merrylands
4 out of 5 stars
Iranian food on a table
Photograph: Helen Yee

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Feast on charcoal kebabs and slow cooked stews at this Persian restaurant

Sure you’ve eaten kebabs, but have you tried a kabob? It’s the Iranian version of barbecue meat on sticks, speared onto metal skewers and then grilled over glowing charcoal. In fact, theories abound that Persian soldiers were some of the first kebab innovators, using their swords to cook meat over fire.

Get the special kebab plate ($28) at Saffron in Merrylands and you’ll score the classic trio served up on a plate big enough to feed a family. Get your protein fix with skewers of marinated chicken (juje), tender pieces of lamb backstrap (barg) and seasoned lamb mince (koobideh). The lamb mince is combined with finely minced onions and fat for extra succulence.

On the side you’ll find a grilled whole tomato, all blistered and charred, providing a smoky acidity that will cut through the richness of the meat. And then there’s the huge serve of saffron rice (chelo), each grain impossibly long and slender. Mix the blister packet of butter into the rice for extra richness.

Order the gheymah bademjoon ($13) and revel in the combination of saffron rice with hearty lamb and eggplant stew. The rice is the perfect carriage for soaking up the fragrant turmeric and saffron tomato sauce, thickened with yellow split peas and spiked with the gentle sourness of dried lime. Creamy strips of eggplant - fried first until golden brown and then added to the stew for a second cook - are the highlight. 

If you love lamb, you’ll appreciate the beauty of the broad bean rice with lamb shank ($20). Just a gentle nudge will have the slow-cooked meat falling clean off the bone. The accompanying baghali polo, basmati rice heavily flecked with dill and garnished with double-podded broad beans, is fantastically aromatic. 

Expect plenty of local families and friends at this recently renovated but still simply furnished restaurant, awash with aubergine and dark timber hues. If you’re an offal fan, arrive early for breakfast when you can look forward to livers, hearts, kidneys and sweetbreads, or go all out with the lamb head and hooves.

By: Helen Yee



Address: 227 Merrylands Rd
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 11.30am-9.30pm; Sat 9am-9.30pm; Sun 8am-9.30pm

Users say

1 person listening