Safa Indian Restaurant, 1st Floor, 30-32 Bank Sq, Belfast
So this was an all too rare date night for Nic and I. We both love our Indian food and have eaten in a good handful of Indian restaurants in greater Belfast but never before have we ventured to Safa. So a new place combined with one of my favoutie cuisines resulted in one very excited food blogger!
Run by renowned chef Ali Askir, Safa is located in Bank Sq just off both Castle and High Street in Belfast City centre and above Kelly’s Cellars, one of Belfast’s best, and best known bars. Inside it is clean, inviting and relaxing with a warm traditional decor. Matched by the warmth of our greeting from both Ali himself and Wesley our server who was attentive, knowledgeable and polite.
Now the big strength of this Indian is the menu, which is brilliantly straightforward. First of all you get an education in spices on the first page which I loved (always up for a bit of self-development). The Main Menu as it states at the top is ‘pick your curry and pick your meat, prawns or veg’ with pretty much every type of curry you would expect to find. The ‘Safa Specialties’ had again a couple of familiar names but plenty of dishes for someone looking to try something a little different, that would be me. A selection of dishes cooked in the tandoori oven and a list of biriyani options made it impossible not to find something that suited whether you like mild and creamy, lip-tinglingly hot or anything in between.
I love that one of the meat options here is goat a fairly new discovery for me but one I was keen to revisit. So for starter I had the Goat Tikka. Very tender, sweet meat with a nice bit of spice and a good amount for a starter.
For mains Nic went for a hot Chilli Masala with Prawns. On Ali’s recommendation I tried the Chettined with lamb though he said this would also be excellent with chicken. We each had pilau rice and also got some green chilli and garlic naan which looked amazing and prompted several comments after posting a pic of it on Instagram. There are a range of side dishes including several types of Aloo (potato) and different flavours of bhajee.
The food was nothing short of exceptional, aromatic and full of flavour and without the use of any additives or dyes. There’s also an extensive drinks list to accompany your meal including wines and spirits. For me it could only be a clear crisp pint of Cobra which goes great with any curry.
Not to be taken too lightly, I have to say Safa is the best Indian Restaurant experience I have had. Food, service and surroundings, top class. A final highlight was the hot towel trick at the end of the meal. No picture of this so you’ll just have to go and see it for yourself.
One superb restaurant and team, and a Star Spot on thebowtieblog. Thanks to Ali and the staff in Safa. I will be back, and soon.
Safa Website – http://www.safabelfast.com/
The Irish Curry Awards
Ali Askir is the pioneer of the first ever Irish Curry Awards taking place later this year. for more information including how to nominate, visit the website at http://irishcurryawards.com/
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Safa will be offering:
Buy one main & get one free
Buy two main courses & get two sides free
Buy a bottle of Cobra or glass of house wine & get one free
“I grew up and live in Belfast, Northern Ireland. On my blog, I share with you my huge passion for Northern Ireland food and drink, along with the odd ramble about anything else that happened to come to mind!”