To be honest, we weren't particularly looking forward to this curry - the location of the restaurant being our main concern - but when you've got a job to do, you just get on with it especially as it was PhilS' turn to drive. Things weren't looking too promising as we pulled into the car park by the Zafran. A group of young girls were climbing all over the cars and then proceeded to engage in a running battle with the waiter who had been standing outside the restaurant. Once inside it felt like we were under siege until the girls left after about 10 minutes. The internal décor was fairly basic with the obligatory waterfall picture on the back wall. There were loads of seats - none of which were occupied. We were led to the rear of the restaurant, presumably to be away from the commotion going on outside, and seated at a table in the corner.
We ordered the now standard starters. The bhajis consisted of two big balls (something of a trend at the moment), some were well cooked though whilst others were slightly underdone in the centre and all were a little cold. The sheek kebabs arrived on a sizzler with masses of fried onions but turned out to be under spiced. There was a good supply of splatter with a particularly tasty red onion chutney. We were even asked if we would like to keep them to accompany our main dishes.
The portions for the main dishes were particularly generous and all dishes were piping hot, nay, scadding! The sauce on the Balti Chicken Pathia was still bubbling away as it arrived. Once it had cooled enough to eat, PhilS found the sauce to be well spiced and really tasty. The same was true of the Balti Chicken Jalfrezi. Plenty of chillies - thankfully these were left whole so IanD was able to wimp out at the halfway stage and push the remaining pods to one side to ease the raging inferno. Another tasty sauce for the Balti Chicken Tikka Dopiaza - lashings of onions, coriander and assorted peppers. All the chicken was extremely tender and some of it had been tikkaed even in the non-tikka dishes. Again we had a selection of nans. The keema was a bit on the small side and quartered and the meat had migrated into two pieces. The garlic nan was just a bit too thick and doughy but had just about the right hint of garlic. The chicken nan was a bit of a let down - although obviously present, the meat couldn't be tasted so a plain nan would have been a better choice.
We were extremely pleased with the quality of food and standard of service at the Zafran. The beers were a bit on the pricey side but still well below the prices charged elsewhere. As an opening offer, we were given a 20% discount off the whole bill (including drinks) so this turned out to be quite a cheap evening. We believe that once this offer has ended, others will be introduced. As we said at the start, the location of the Zafran is a bit off-putting. That's a crying shame - if this restaurant was in a better location, it would knock the spots off the competition. Perhaps they should relocate to Olney!
Which gives an overall rating of 4 bhajis.