Saturday, 6 August 2011


Safran is a Persian restaurant and takeaway on Kirkgate in Leeds City Centre, often hiding behind a Megabus opposite the Duck & Drake, and it's rustic decor fits the menu of traditional Persian and Arabic dishes.

First thing to be aware of is that the portions are HUGE, it seems as though all dishes are sized to share or at least it seemed like the ones we ordered were, also Safran is extremely good value for money. Everything tasted fresh and authentic, except for the fries which were standard frozen ones. Judging by the custom when we visited it would seem that Leeds' Iranian population enjoy eating here which can't be a bad thing.

Safran is not licensed but you are welcome to bring your own bottle!

Leben (on the menu simply as Yoghurt Drink)

Mixed Starter

Freshly Baked Flatbread (part of the mixed starter)

Bakhtiari Mix

Shish Tawouq Dish

Persian Tea and Baklava

This was our first visit to Safran so we were unsure about what to order, portion sizes, etc. We decided on a jug of yoghurt drink (known around asia variously as Leben, Ayran or Dûğ) and the mixed starter, due to getting to taste several things on a first visit. This was a great choice and definitely big enough for two people, the mixed starter comprises of hummus, dressed Mediterranean salad, koubideh kebab, falafel and a freshly baked flatbread. The first thing I noticed was the bread which was beautifully fragrant and tasted delicious, in fact one of my favourite breads I have ever had. The salad was standard Mediterranean salad, mixed leaves, olives, tomatoes, gherkins, peppers etc and all very nice and all very fresh. The hummus was delicious and just beautiful with the bread. The falafel was just how I expect falafel to be, not spectacular but not bad. All in all, this starter is a great success, recommended.

As far as the mains go, it was just too much food, especially after the starter, of course this is not a fault of the restaurant, just our lack of knowledge about how large these portions were, also it was a mistake ordering fries on one of the mains (the portion of fries could have fed three people). I don't eat fries often anyway and only ordered them because the other main came with rice. The salad on the mains was too much again after the mixed starter, and again our fault through inexperience, we simply left all the fries and salad which was a waste.
The kebabs were all great, really great, and these are the star of the show in Safran. In hindsight, when we return (and we will definitely return) we would order the mixed starter and just ask for the kebabs from the mains with maybe one portion of rice to share, no salad, no fries and happily pay full price for that.

For dessert we had the baklava which was three pieces so again a good sized portion. It was nice standard baklava, we accompanied it with a pot of Persian tea which came served in a lovely traditional tea set and the pot came out to quite a few cups, the tea was really nice and a very good match for the baklava.
We would return here simply for tea and baklava as it was really good, the service was relaxed and friendly, the food was delicious and very good value for money. Safran is definitely worth checking out.

81 Kirkgate

Telephone: 0113 2444496

Web: (website menu not up to date at the time of writing)

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