I used to go to school with a girl called Saffron, whose family was not from the sub-Indian continent. This is apros of absolutely nothing, except that I went to the worst Indian restaurant I have ever been to in my life the other day, and it was also called Saffron. I do not want to link the idea of my childhood friend Saffron with rubbishness, and yet if she had been the owner proprietor it might have made some sense. Let’s get listin’:

1) The reason we went to Saffron was the service in Chillies (my Crouch End usual) was sluggish. Well we had waited for a minute to be seated so to show them we went to the new looking joint over the road. It appears they had spent of the budget on a nicely backlit sign. Nevertheless we were made to feel welcome by the offer of “free popadoms” when we entered. Only when three popadoms turned up did we think that the first of many cultural misunderstandings had occurred. 3 popadoms were indeed on the bill.

2) Starters: My father fancied the curried chicken livers. I wanted aloo chat. Unfortunately neither were available. A suitable replacement for curried chicken livers, it was suggested, was the entirely dissimilar prawn puri. Even more surprising, considering the lack of aloo (potatoes!) was that they did indeed have chicken chat available.

3) Drinks: I ordered a 660ml Sunny Beaches. They did not have, however the 660ml Cobra was a fine replacement. Except what was actually brought to my table was a small glass of beer and a 330ml bottle. It is possible that the first beer had been decanted from another 330ml bottle of Cobra ? except it tasted different.

4) King Prawn Biryani seemed to lack any of the crustacean monarchs and seemed happy to make a meal of the more lowly subjects of said dominion.

5) Near the end of the meal a member of waiting staff engaged my father in conversation regarding his disability. My father had a larengectomy a few years ago due to cancer of the throat. He can still be a bit shy in public, but will answer basic friendly questions. What we were not expecting was a query about his voice vibrator turning into a five minute parable of woe regarding the poor state of our waiting staffs sinuses (complete with hacking noises). Especially when I was eating a dansak.

On the bright side neither of us got food poisoning. And at least it made me think upon my old friend Saffron again. Which is a good thing: unlike this particularly lousy Crouch End Curry House.