Despite being known as “the foodie capital of Texas,” when Thiniso Tashi arrived in Austin eight years ago, he found the restaurant landscape was lacking his favorite fare: Nepalese food.

In 2016, Tashi and his business partner, Rajesh Ghimire, established the Indian-Nepalese fusion restaurant Saffron on Far West Boulevard and have since expanded to Westlake at the West Woods Shopping Center as Saffron South in 2019.

What's on the menu

Saffron South serves a nearly identical menu as the Far West location, boasting signature Nepalese and Indian dishes, such as momos, goat stew, achari chicken and tandoori meats.

The selection includes many classically Indian cuisines, such as samosas, tikka masala and curries; however, when designing the menu, Tashi said it was important to go beyond the familiar to create something new.

"Fusion is the food of the future for Austin ... There's more of a chance to be playful with the food," Tashi said.

Tashi said while Indian and Nepalese foods share a similar family of spices, Nepalese food is more toned down to allow the proteins to shine.

Meet the owner

Tashi's upbringing was a fusion of its own: He grew up in Northeast India with a Nepalese mother and a Tibetan father.

He arrived in America 25 years ago and immediately jumped into the restaurant industry, working at Indian and Japanese restaurants in New York and San Francisco.

"My passion is for food," he said. "Nepal is the country everyone knows for having the highest mountains, but they should really know it for the food."

Looking ahead

Shortly after opening, the pandemic forced Saffron South to close for eight months. Despite this setback and subsequent inflation challenges, Tashi said the restaurant has garnered tremendous sustaining support and attention from the Westlake community.

While there are no plans to open another location, Tashi said he hopes to continue experimenting with the menu and finding ways to accommodate more guests within the current space.

"There is a lot of room to grow, right? But we don't want to go at a very fast pace where we lose the passion," Tashi said.