By: Nicole Long- Laos Director
Luang Prabang, Laos
What was ordered:
Mixed Fruit Shake
Grilled Chicken Panini with salad
Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae
The Saffron Café is located on the Mekong River side of the peninsula. The café offers seating on both levels of the restaurant and on a small patio overlooking the Mekong River. It is a convenient location in town that offers a great view while you relax with an aromatic cup of coffee or a bite to eat.
Owned by an American and Lao couple, the café feels clean and comfortable- a bit like a slice of the west but with delicious, strong Lao Coffee. Many expats living in Luang Prabang claim that the coffee here is much better than the other larger café competitors in town. After my visit, I have to say I agree!
I found that the coffee here was deeper, richer and stronger than that of other coffee shops in town. I was also extremely happy to see that I actually was served a real cup of joe. It wasn’t the small little tea cup of coffee that is usually served, but a saucer of warm, frothy goodness (I ordered a café latte).
I also liked that the menu wasn’t overrun by coffee choices. You merely had your staples with a couple yummy options added in, like the L.P. Malted Mocha or the Carmel Macchiato. They offer freshly baked goods at the counter if you want something quick and a simple as well as a more extensive menu offering breakfast, sandwiches, pizza, pasta and a few local dishes. They also have one of the most sinful dessert menus in town. Even though the menu is simple, it’s really hard to choose what to eat!
I had only eaten at Saffron two times before, many years ago. It is open all day and night, but I think of it as a breakfast/lunch spot. Unfortunately I don’t get out much for these two meals! I had already tried the Grilled Chicken Alfredo and the Caesar wrap, which are both DELICIOUS. So, I decided to go for the recommended Grilled Chicken Panini with sun-dried tomatoes, marinated olives, roasted mild peppers, mozzarella cheese and garlic aioli.
I think I embarrassed my lunch mate by fawning over this Panini- I couldn’t help myself! It was just so, so good. It was the right mix of everything. I am always weary of sandwiches with olives and sundried tomatoes thinking it will overpower everything else, but this one did not disappoint. It was just perfect! The little salad was a nice and refreshing side dish (you have a choice between salad and fries). To make lunch even more refreshing, I had a mixed fruit shake with the meal. It was very good as well, just the right amount of creamy and sweet. I wouldn’t recommend it with your meal, but perhaps for dessert or by itself. It was just too much with the perfect Panini!
I was so delightfully full after the meal, but that dessert page was still in the back of my mind. How could it not be, with choices like Oreo Cheesecake, Mango-Lime Pie, Triple Chocolate Cake (it goes on…)? My friend agreed to help with the dessert and so, after much deliberation, I went for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae.
I don’t have the words to describe its deliciousness. I will just write you the description and show you the before and after shots.
Massive homemade chewy chocolate chip cookie (made daily with fresh New Zealand butter), vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, home-made cashew toffee, caramel and chocolate sauce.
I am practically weeping writing this because it was that amazing. I am not a huge dessert person, but I whole heartedly yearn to meet with this slice of heaven again. I don’t know if I will ever be able to try another dessert on their menu because I am so in love with this one! Tragedy!
As you may be able to tell, I really enjoyed everything about my experience at Saffron. The only negative I would have to say is that the staff were not so attentive, but once you got their attention they were happy to meet your requests. If you are in Luang Prabang and want to have some comfort food from home, this is your place. Even if you don’t want to come for a meal, stop for dessert. I guarantee the sinfulness is totally worth it!
For more information about Saffron Cafe in Luang Prabang, Laos visit their website here: http://www.saffroncoffee.com/visiting-luang-prabang