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Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Restaurant Review from Baby's View: Saffron of Ambler

This guest post is brought to you by Kate of Kolbe Designs.
A  Restaurant Review from Baby's View

Where:  Saffron of Ambler, 60 E. Butler Pike, Ambler, PA

Who:  6 adults, 1 almost one year old

Who knew spicy Indian food would be such a hit with a Cheerio lovin' one year old?!  And why not?  The spices tickle your tongue, the aromas are delightful, the colors in the restaurant's decor are bold and visually stimulating. 

My husband and I have been slightly obsessed with Saffron of Ambler since they opened at the beginning of the year.  We have ordered almost weekly carry-out feasts for our little in-house date night - to enjoy after putting our daughter, Annelie, to bed.  This week, as my in-laws are in town to celebrate baby girl's first birthday, we decided to go to the restaurant together for dinner early enough that Annelie could join us.  The restaurant is a bright little BYOB in the heart of Ambler, just down the block from the refurbished movie theater.  I had made a reservation and mentioned that we would have a baby with us.  Saffron had set the table with a high chair at the end ready for her.  The host and waiters are extremely friendly, joking with Annelie (was she old enough to hold her own bottle - of wine - yet? what a strong child!) and graciously putting up with our rowdy family. 

Now, for the good stuff, Saffron of Ambler's food is awesome!  Not only do I think their food is great relative to other Indian restaurants, but I also feel their creations are perfect baby-friendly Indian fare.  I say this because their dishes are always well spiced without being too spicy, as in hot.  The combinations of flavors are delicately balanced with a tongue-tingling little kick, but never "I need something to drink NOW" spicy.  This, of course, is why I think this is perfect baby Indian fare!  To start, we ordered vegetable samosas (deep-fried pastry pockets filled with potatoes, peas and spices) and onion baijia (little deep fried "nests" of thinly sliced onion).  These are served with a sauce that does have a great kick, so I gave Annelie bites sans-sauce.  What baby doesn't love peas and potatoes?  And apparently fried onions are awesome no matter what your age.  "Dad" and I ordered chicken tikka masala, which arrived as perfectly tender chunks of chicken in an ample amount of heavenly sweet-spicy-creamy tomato sauce, served in lovely copper and brass dishes.  Annelie loved this the very most, giggling and bouncing up and down after every bite.  Also at the table were saag paneer (a mild spinach and cheese dish), chana punjabi (chickpeas cooked with onions, herbs and tomatoes) and naan (a soft leaved bread topped with onions or garlic).  She ate it all up with a smile!  If we took too long between offering her bites, she started smacking her lips and eagerly reaching out towards our plates for more.  The only dish on the table I did not give her was vegetable bryani (a spicy rice dish with mixed veggies in it that is served with a cooling cucumber yogurt sauce called raita) pretty much just because I didn't want to share!

Indian cuisine was a far greater success with a baby than I had imagined.  Our one year old was thrilled with all the new flavors and textures of the food.  She enjoyed the colorful atmosphere and was totally flirty with the waiter.  We had a lovely experience as a family enjoying exceptional food in a very baby-friendly environment.  I highly recommend sharing the joys of such flavorful, aromatic foods with your baby!  I do, though, intend to continue ordering after baby is in bed sometimes, too, because this food is too yummy to have to share every time!

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