Business Buzz – December 2022


Saffron Indian Restaurant and Bar Celebrates Fourth Anniversary
    Saffron Indian Restaurant and Bar 
(Saffron) opened in 2018, emphasizing their devotion to food, using light, fresh ingredients, from all parts of India. This passion attracted a loyal staff with an international flair, all of whom are now considered family. Locals who like Indian food have become regulars in the restaurant’s Orinda Theatre Square location.
    Head Chef Amrit Lal Sharma and his wife Renu Bala Sharma founded Saffron. Today, their son Sachin Kumar Sharma, along with Ravi Kant Pathak (son-in-law to Amrit and brother-in-law to Sachin), manage most of the operations.
    The respect and admiration Operational Administrator Pathak has for his fellow staff members shines through when he describes their talents, their loyalty and commitment to keep the menu up to the standards set by Head Chef and mentor, Amrit Sharma. The family now owns a home in Orinda as well as operating Saffron.
    According to the National Restaurant Association, more than 110,000 restaurants in the United States shut their doors in 2020 (either temporarily or permanently). In 2022, the Association estimates one in three U.S. restaurants failed.
    Pathak, who hails from Punjab, gives credit to how Saffron has flourished during these difficult times: “The spirit and excellence of the staff, mixed with the open, friendly people of Orinda who welcomed us.”
    Staff members include Anil Kumar Ror from Haryana in Northern India and Martinho da Cunha from London; da Cunha often spells fellow staff members who need a break. Mohammed Sharfudeen, from Sri Lanka, is known for the diversity of cooking methods he brings to Saffron.
    Vijay Singh is from India, but his family members are from Mexico. Singh likes to mix Indian food with Mexican spices for an interesting fusion of cultures and flavors.
    Senior Chef Rohit Sohpaul has been in the restaurant business since he was 18. Both he and Senior Chef Singh were trained by Head Chef Amrit Sharma.
    “Singh and Sohpaul keep the kitchen humming,” said Pathak.
    Saffron’s extensive menu includes 10 varieties of naan (garlic being a local favorite), appetizers, soups and salads, a selection of vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, tandoori grill sizzlers, chicken, lamb, seafood, Biryani, kids’ meals, desserts and a full bar.
    Locals give rave reviews for their chicken Tikka Masala and basmati rice, fragrant with whole cardamom pods.
    Masala is a mixture of spices ground into a paste. At Saffron, eight house-made masalas flavor different dishes, including fish, smoked eggplant, okra curry with mango powder, dahl and chicken dishes. Bright red sun-dried Deggi Mirch chilis, a special strain from India with a deep, smoky flavor, are used in some dishes.
    Pathak said, “All Indian restaurants use similar spices – it’s just the amount of each spice as well as how it is ground that makes a masala unique.”
    Their masalas include ginger, mango powder, turmeric, coriander, cumin, ajwain and mustard seeds, fenugreek, saffron, cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper.
    For more information, menu, restaurant hours or to make reservations, visit Saffron at Located at 2 Theatre Square #153, call 925.217.1211 or email

Elana O’Loskey can be reached at

(Jeff Heyman, Photographer)
(L-R) front, Martinho da Cunha and Operational Administrator Ravi Kant Pathak, (L-R) back Anil Kumar Ror, Mohammed Sharfudeen, Vijay Singh and Rohit Sohpaul at Saffron Indian Restaurant & Bar, which opened in 2018 and despite challenges, is celebrating its fourth anniversary.

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