House of Holi launch at Cinnamon Kitchen:
I had no idea what to expect. Of course I’ve heard of Holi, but like many Indian traditions, my understanding of what might actually happen was just a little vague. I know that it is a celebration of the end of winter and the start of spring. And I know it involves a lot of colour. The exact date of Holi varies each year – this year it falls on 17th March.
But, a paint throwing pop-up? Well, I guess it beats street food and supper clubs. Cinnamon Kitchen are celebrating Holi with their own House of Holi – running from today until 22nd March, and I was invited along for a preview yesterday! As it happens I genuinely did have a meeting immediately after – and so watched as my colleagues smothered each other with brightly coloured paint powders.
I wasn’t the only one watching…the antics attracted a lot of attention from the grey suited city staff passing through Devonshire Square in the City.
Even the chefs joined in. In fact, the chefs seemed to be at the heart of the action. Which perhaps explains the wonderfully colourful and vibrant food we ate later on.
Then it was on to a taster of the Holi feast on offer at Cinnamon Kitchen. Somehow there did seem to be a lot more than five courses, all prepared for us by Head Chef Abdul Yaseen.
Trays full of canapes were followed by an appetiser – Bhalla Papdi Chaat – chilled lentil ‘dumpling’ with crisp wheat, youghurt, tamarind and pomegranate.
The meat starter was Bhaditraka – seared Kentish lamb escalopes with rock moss and allspice. Foraged rock moss seems to feature in a number of chef Vivek Singh’s recipes, although it’s not something I’ve ever come across before. The dish was a perfectly balanced, lightly spiced plate – with nothing overwhelming the flavour of the tender lamb – quite an art. I rather liked the taste of the rock moss.
On to mains of king prawns in coconut malai curry with ghee rice, plump juicy prawns in a rich sauce with buttery nutty rice. Delicious.
At this point I had to leave. Which was a real shame because I was looking forward to trying the Holi sweets – carrot halwa parcels, coconut and pistachio cake and saffron rabri. I might not have felt so disappointed if I hadn’t been really enjoying the meal. But…we’d lingered over paint play and cocktails and the event was running just a little late.
If you like the sound of all of this, there are some great options. Book a Holi play session. It’s a great way to unwind and let your hair down. And only £8.00 or £15.00 with a cocktail and canapes, your ticket includes a 50p donation to social enterprise charity e-Coexist (e-coexist.com), which focuses on empowering women and children in India. And, you can enjoy the five course Holi feast that we had for £45 per person or there’s a whole range of Holi cocktails at Anise, the Cinnamon Kitchen bar.
Holi Sessions at Cinnamon Kitchen
Monday – Friday
12pm-12.30pm, 1pm-1.30pm, 2pm-2.30pm, 4pm-4.30pm, 5pm–5.30pm, 6pm-6.30pm & 7pm-7.30pm
12pm-12.30pm, then every hour until 6pm-6.30pm