By : MELISSA RICHTER
29 July 2019
Saffron is an old school Thai restaurant that is still going strong by offering classic Thai dishes and sweeping city views. Located in the iconic Banyan Tree Bangkok, it is perched on the 52ndfloor and feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the city below. The venue is divided into several spaces spanning two levels with indoor dining and al fresco dining available at Saffron Sky Garden with its cozy daybeds, loungers, towering trees and relaxing greenery.
Inside you will find a comfortable mix of elegant tableside dining along with a semi-private dining room where you can dine Asian style and sit on the floor. There is a rich and sophisticated vibe as the room shimmers and glows with the jewel tones of amber and dark orange. Deep plush carpets and black marble floors seamlessly blend with the dark wood accents, glass walls, Thai wood carvings, paintings, and Asian decorations.
The menu is quite large and expansive with a bevy of approachable and familiar Thai dishes on the a la carte menu. They also have a series of set menus from 4-7 courses that you can get with or without a wine pairing. On our visit, we opted for the 7-course Signature menu with wine pairing.
Our meal began with a traditional-style hand rinsing with warm, fragrant water from an elaborately decorated bowl. It’s a nice touch and adds an element of class and sophistication to the evening. We were then presented with an appetizer of rice crackers and paper-thin saffron crisps are served with three dipping sauces which were Eggplant Relish, Chicken-Tomato and Shrimp w/ Coconut Milk. This was followed by Fresh Summer Crab Meat Rolls w/ Mango Salsa, Peanut & Sweet Chili Dips served in 3 separate spoons. They were light and refreshing and nicely paired with a Prosecco, Fantinel, Extra Dry, and DOC from Italy. Next up was the Spicy Grilled Duck & Chili-Mint Salad w/ Roasted Rice Powder and a Cappuccino Coconut Broth w/ Grilled Scallop which is a sweet coconut soup cleverly served in a coffee mug. There is a nice slice of lime you can use to add some acidity to the dish and it is paired with a sweet Gewürztraminer, ‘Alois Lageder’, Alto Adige, from Italy.
We were also treated to a Fried River Prawn w/ Sweet & Sour Tamarind Sauce, Coriander Salad and a Slow Cooked Australian Short Ribs w/ Licorice, Panaeng Curry Sauce. The final savory course of the night was the Wok-Tossed Chiang Mai Pork Sausage, Egg Noodle, Northern Style Hang Lay Curry Sauce & Pickle Cabbage which was paired with a Pinot Noir, Pascal Jolivet, Val De Loire, from France. This was a nice dish overall that had a good textural balance and harmony between salty, sweet and bitter components. Keep in mind that all of the dishes we tried were all a bit sweet, and the spice level was low. If you like it hot, you will want to be sure to ask them to “kick it up” for you. I also felt that all the wines served (except for the red) were also generally sweet. I recommend the Monsoon Valley Spring, Unwooded Chenin Blanc, from Khao Yao Thailand as it works well with both the meat and fish courses and acts as a counterpoint to sugar in the cuisine.
We opted to enjoy our dessert of Mango Sticky Rice, Banana Fritter, Pandan Crème Brûlée & Thai Tea Ice Cream outside in the Sky Garden. There are a great breeze outside and the upbeat music that puts you in a relaxed mood as you enjoy the views. They have a creative cocktail menu with a build your own “Gin & Tonics” where you pick your brand of gin and mixer separately. The staff will also come by at some point in the night and take a complimentary photo of you and your group which they will email to you later that evening, which is another nice touch. Saffron is the ideal urban escape with their awe-inspiring city views coupled with their approachable and familiar cuisine, and separate spaces for lounging, dining and entertaining. Open every day of the week, it is the perfect place to enjoy sunset cocktails, have a business dinner, celebrate a special occasion, or just hang out with friends.