ScrubySnacks recently had the pleasure of staying in the rather lovely area of St James during a recent trip to London. In the midst of a very chilly afternoon, the crispness of the winter air left SS longing for a feast to warm the body, but more specifically the belly.
Miraculously, we discovered The Cinnamon Club whilst testing out the mobile phone app, Uncover, which had been recommended to us by a friend. This very clever application lists participating restaurants around London, varying from top-rated Michelin starred eateries, to hidden backstreet treasures, enabling you to check real time, last minute availability and seamlessly secure a booking.
The Cinnamon Club was just a few minutes’ walk from our hotel and luckily there was an early evening slot available. What really piqued our interest was the fact that it was actually located within the Old Westminster Library building. It’s not every day you have the opportunity to devour an Indian curry in a historic Grade II listed building right in the heart of London!
Making our way up the striking stone staircase, it was hard to believe that somewhere beyond those impressively large wooden doors, was a modern restaurant packed with tables of fellow curry lovers. After a warm greeting at The Cinnamon Club’s reception area, we were escorted through the scattering of early diners and seated at our allocated table in the far corner of the restaurant.
Our initial impression was that this mesmerising place was unlike any other Indian eatery we had visited before. Completely devoid of any garish ornaments, flamboyant wallpaper or background beats of bygone Bollywood blockbusters, any gaudiness had been replaced by a contemporary palette of blue and ivory hues, along with a remarkable display of perfectly placed colourful book spines. The whole establishment was impeccably refined and no doubt assisted by its recent £1million refurbishment.
Glancing at the menu, it was increasingly apparent that this was an Indian restaurant with a definitive edge. Without a chicken vindaloo or tikka masala in sight, the description of each delectably sounding dish read like fine poetry, fusing together a much thought out balance of Indian and Western ingredients.
We couldn’t help but notice an incredibly dapper looking gentleman as he sashayed from table to table, and we were particularly excited when he came over to introduce himself as Amolak, The Cinnamon Clubs’ Guest Relations Manager. After a lovely chat, he proceeded to very patiently describe the underlying concept of each of his favourite dishes on the menu. We opted for the kadhai spice crusted cobia fillet with kala korma sauce and coriander rice, along with the roast saddle of Romney Marsh lamb with corn sauce. The flavours were phenomenal, and the fragrant Indian spices deliciously enhanced the distinctive yet subtle flavours of the juicy fish and tender lamb without being too overpowering. Both dishes were a positive hit, especially washed down with a delightful bottle of Burgundy.
Now, it’s worth noting that if you happen to be looking for a romantic table for two in a quiet, private space, the Cinnamon Club is not that place. The atmosphere was more reminiscent of a banqueting hall, with tables placed quite closely, giving off a rather festive yet affluent ambience, which we actually really enjoyed.
Although the meal was on the pricey end of the curry scale, ScrubySnacks was thoroughly impressed by its fresh and modern take on Indian cuisine, its phenomenal Victorian library location and of course the pleasantly attentive staff. Only as we were leaving did we notice the downstairs cocktail bar which is yet another reason we shall be paying a visit to The Cinnamon Club again on our next trip to London.
SCRUBYSNACKS RATING: 4/5