When researching places to eat in London, Saf Restaurant & Bar stood out in the pretty food category. However, after eating there I can tell you that pretty doesn’t make up for taste and certainly doesn’t ease the pain of paying more than you think a dish is worth. We went to Saf for an early dinner with Sasha and Mitsu of the To Happy Vegans blog. The food was hit or miss when it came to flavour and portion size, but at least we were in good company.
In an effort to keep our spending under control and prevent overeating, John and I often order one main to share and split a side dish and or dessert. However, we know raw food tends to be lighter and figured we could each handle a full course.
Let’s start off on a positive note with the best dish of the evening…
John ordered the Pad Thai, a bowl of shredded zucchini (or courgette as they say in England) and carrot noodles, topped with sprouted lentils, enoki mushrooms, candied nuts, tomato, parsley and nori. The sauce was a lovely blend of chipotle and almond, that paired well with the freshly squeeze lime. John, who isn’t normally a fan of raw food (at least not the kind I make), really liked this dish, especially the lightly spiced sauce and veggie noodles. He let me share a few bites and I thought it was great, very flavourful.
The high prices at Saf, £7-8 GBP ($10.21-11.66 USD) for starters and £13-14 GBP ($18.95-20.41 USD) for mains, lead me to order something a little different, something I wouldn’t make at home and definitely not while backpacking. I choose the lasagna, with layers of olives, mushrooms, sage pesto and raw bolognaise. On top, there was a dollop of creamy nut cheese, macadamia I think, and a dried tomato. It looked nice, but was totally overpowered but the olives, which I’m not a big fan of. It was also very dry, perhaps dehydrated a little too long. I was expecting to be wowed and love every bite but couldn’t really finish the dish without some help from John who was feeling a little peckish even after finishing his Pad Thai. As I was eating it, I kept thinking, this is not what you’d want to feed someone who hasn’t tried raw food before. Thankfully, I like raw food and have some tolerance for different textures and flavours.
Sasha ordered the raw tacos, which were very small, but looked incredibly cute and tasty. There were three tacos, each with a different filling, including chipotle pepper salsa, guacamole, tomato & pineapple salsa. When I suggested Saf, I didn’t know Wednesdays were Sasha’s raw food day. It worked out great and she had a lovely dinner, paring the tacos with a green juice. I didn’t try the tacos but Sasha seemed to find them flavourful and filling.
Mitsu had the cannelloni, a very light starter of zucchini ribbons stuffed with cashew cheese, served with shreds of fresh basil and a puttanesca sauce, which, according to Wikipedia, is known as “whore’s spaghetti sauce.” It’s supposed to be a spicy, tangy, somewhat salty Italian pasta sauce. Weird. You can read Mitsu’s take on the dinner here.
For dessert, the To Happy Vegans, ordered a slice of blueberry coconut cheesecake. They were kind enough to let us snag a small bite. Sadly, it tasted nothing like blueberries. It was very tart and reminded me of a key lime pie Lara Bar. Once again, the portion was quite small. I’m all for quality and keeping portions reasonable but at £7.50 GBP ($10.94 USD), I would have expected something a bit bigger.
The Saf restaurant was beautiful and had a great vibe and ambiance. I love when kitchens are wide open, allowing for guests to sneak a peek at the chefs.
Another thing I really liked about Saf was that they had a little symbol beside all of the menu items that were NOT raw. Usually, it tends to be the other way around. I thought that was pretty cute. I wish I had more positive things to say about this well known and highly acclaimed restaurant. Unfortunately, not all dining experiences can be perfect.
Saf Restaurant & Bar
152-154 Curtain Road
London, United Kingdom
Tel: 020 7613 0007