4km from Darwin CBD in funky Parap, Saffrron is known for authentic yet innovative Indian cuisine (southern, northern and tandoori) created from Top End produce fresh from the farm or market, including 100% NT seafood.
Chef Sel’s seasonal menus and regular special menu events are about fresher, tastier, healthier eating that delivers a real sense of place, designed to get people excited – and we mean really excited – about eating Indian, eating well and eating local.
Saffrron proudly reflects Darwin’s rich diversity of cultures and laid back tropical lifestyle with a unique cultural, seasonal and sustainability-focused food and wine experience.
“Locals recommend places to stay, eat and things to do… I had business colleagues in town only this week and I recommended Saffrron. The next day they were raving about experiencing the best Indian they have ever eaten – and they are from Sydney.”
– Publisher’s letter Issue 1, Territory Taste mag
Chef Selvam Kandasamy
2015 NT Owner Manager of the Year, Australian Institute of Management Excellence Awards
The Saffrron story begins with owner and Chef Selvam Kandasamy, knee-high to an Indian grasshopper, growing up on his family’s rice and buffalo farm in Tamil Nadu, India.
It was here that Sel spent his free time in his grandmother’s kitchen, learning how to make curd from buffalo milk and how to blend the aromatic spices that would later become part of his signature style.
Later, Sel relocated to Darwin where he worked at some of Darwin’s best restaurants, met and married co-owner Joanna Kandasamy, and became an Australian citizen.
A big part of Sel’s dream to open his own restaurant was to utilise the wonderful, tropical produce of the Territory that was so well-suited to his own brand of his native cuisine, and to provide a more environmentally sustainable dining experience.
Joanna and Sel opened Saffrron in Parap in 2008. In 2015, Saffrron Express (takeaway only) opened in Alawa.
“I believe that as both chef and business owner I have a responsibility to think bigger than the tangible size of the restaurant to ensure Saffrron has a positive impact beyond the kitchen, while demonstrating that environmental sustainability and responsible business practices are not only financially sustainable but can make all the difference to business success.
It’s really important to us that we’re helping to keep our farmers on the land and our local fishing industry in business, through sourcing locally and through raising awareness of the beauty of local produce.
I’m fortunate to be fully engrossed in a career and business that I love, that also taps into food trends, allowing me to help inform and mobilise our customers and the wider community, for example, to choose NT seafood when shopping or eating out.
But sustainability and working with the local community is also more than a duty or a business decision. It’s really rewarding in so many ways, and keeps things challenging and interesting.
I am grateful to my family in India and my mother and father in-law, Sue and David Thom, for their encouragement and support.”
– Chef Selvam Kandasamy