By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Mar 27, 2024 at 11:01 AM

Since opening its doors in June of 2022, Saffron, 223 N. Water St., has quickly become an Historic Third Ward staple, offering diners an increasingly varied menu of modern Indian fare. 

Their newest menu, which was released this week, contributes to the restaurant’s evolution with the addition of a laundry list of new options, including an expanded selection of vegetarian and meat-based dishes. We enjoyed a bit of each, along with new flavorful cocktails and desserts served with a liberal dose of culinary drama.

Based on the sheer number of dishes that have been added, it appears I’ll be working my way through the restaurant’s new menu for a while. However, here are some of the items that stood out from the crowd during my dinner on Monday evening.

1. Kale & Avocado Chaat

Kale ChaatX

Chaat is among the most varied street food dishes in the Indian canon, offering up a winning combination of sweet, salty, crunchy, spicy and savory ingredients. Saffron’s newest version, which features crispy kale, avocado, potato salli (thin, fried potato crisps), sweet and spicy mango chutney, cajuns spices and pomegranate arils, makes an excellent shareable starter. But it would be just as lovely served alongside a glass of sparkling wine, beer or a signature cocktail at the bar.

2. Flaming Mezcal

Flaming Mezcal cocktailX

Speaking of drinking… Like most well-executed craft cocktail menus, Saffron’s takes inspiration from the Indian spices and ingredients used in the kitchen. The result is drinks as memorable as the dishes they accompany. Among the winners on the new menu is the Flaming Mezcal, a cocktail that combines the smokiness of mezcal with the bitter-sweet citrus notes of Campari and subtle spice notes from chai liqueur. Although I didn't catch it in the above shot, it also comes with a flaming orange wedge on top.

If you're in the mood for something far more interactive, leave room for the Foggy Lava Lamp, a science experiment of a drink that comes complete with tableside service, a mixing flask and a dramatic display thanks to a bit of dry ice. Sneak a peek of the drink in action on my Instagram feed.

The cocktail itself is deceptively simple, made from kiwi-infused vodka, honey and pink salt. But it delivers a drink that’s both sweet and savory with a flavor profile that’s heavy on the vegetal notes.

3. Lasooni Chicken Tikka

Lasooni Chicken TikkaX

While this preparation might be less popular than offerings like murgh tikka, lasooni chicken tikka is an excellent choice for anyone who appreciates tender chicken with a savory garlic-forward flavor. In this case, the flavorful pieces of tandoor-cooked chicken were accompanied by earthy-sweet spiced beets and a sweet, complex fig chutney.  So lovely.

4. Malai Paneer Tikka

Paneer TikkaX

This marinated kebab features slices of marinated paneer, skewered and grilled with peppers and onions. Typically made with clotted cream, Saffron’s version employs sour cream flavored with Indian spices to give this dish a slightly tangy twist. Be sure to take advantage of the accompanying charred lemon, which offers the bright pop of acid this otherwise mild dish needs to shine.

5. Prawns Narkel Shorshe


Suppose you appreciate a good coconut-based Indian curry (plus a bit of cleverness in presentation). In that case, you’ll find delight in this dish showcasing sweet prawns cooked with mustard seed and curry leaves and presented in a young coconut. The prawns (there were far more than the two peeking out from the coconut) are fresh and flavorful and the accompanying sauce is rich and flavorful. Be sure to order a side of na’an to soak up the delicious sauce (I recommend trying their new offering seasoned with sweet and savory black garlic).

6. Palak Nadru Kofta


The flavors are subtle but satisfying in this vegetarian dish featuring dumplings made from sweet, nutty lotus stems and paneer cheese served atop a bed of creamy spiced spinach with makhana (a crispy snack made with the edible seeds of the prickly water lily plant). The dish was both tasty and texturally satisfying.

7. Foggy Assorted Kulfi

Foggy KulfiX

In case you didn’t take me up on my offer to order the melodramatic Foggy Lava Lamp cocktail, you’ve got a second chance for fog with your dessert. Kulfi, a densely textured milk-based dessert, is presented here in popsicle form, hanging from a stand filled with dry ice. The dramatic presentation is simply a spiff. The distinctive frozen treats themselves – flavored with rose petals, mango, pistachios ad cardamom – are creamy, fun to eat, and not too heavy, even after a convivial meal.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.