Anise at Cinnamon Kitchen – The Bazaar:
I’m a huge fan of Vivek Singh, a chef who has helped elevate Indian cuisine away from the old “3 pot” curry houses of the 1970s and 1980s and into fine dining. The Cinnamon Club is a favourite of mine for a special treat, and it always meets expectations. But there is no getting around the fact that you pay for the quality, the decor, and the location. Cinnamon Kitchen in Devonshire Square, a short stroll from Liverpool Street, has often been called the Cinnamon Club’s younger and cooler sister.
Housed in an old warehouse formerly owned by the East India Company and used to house its spices, it seems like it was always destined to be the next venue for the Cinnamon group. The food here is equally imaginative as that served at the Cinnamon Club, but often uses less expensive cuts of meat to keep the pricing keen. I own the Cinnamon Kitchen cook book and have made such delights as the Rogan Josh Shepherd’s pie (a truly masterful fusion dish) and braised ox cheek in date and apricot sauce. These dishes personify the ethos of Cinnamon Kitchen; daring, different, yet referencing both British and Indian food cultures.
Anise is the rather sultry bar next to the restaurant, where people come to socialise, drink, nibble canapes, or eat something more substantial, and listen to the music. This summer it has been transformed into an Indian bazaar until 30th August, and features a number of guest chefs serving their own takes on street food.
The evening we visited featured food created by Snigdha’s Table. Snigdha is a petite young woman, so passionate about food that she quit the world of Insurance in the City to follow her dream. She trained in the Cinnamon Club and with Gordon Ramsey, but the food we experienced had a home cooked feel to it, but often with a clever little twist. The pan puris we tried were as light and delicious as you’d expect, but had the added excitement of a touch a vodka!
Similarly, naan with chicken tikka wasn’t run-of-the-mill by any means, the naan was stuffed with the chicken rather than it being on top or to the side.
The evening we went to Anise was one of the few warm ones we’ve experienced this year, and the outside space was filled with people enjoying a steady stream of dishes being cooked by Snigdha. Our calamari dish was delicious, a far cry from the rubbery offerings of many establishments, tender and offset by the subtly spiced dip. And the daal with paratha seemed to disappear in a flash; possibly one of the nicest daals I have ever tasted.
Unfortunately, Snigdha’s residency has now ended. Papi’s Pickles will take over the helm of Cinnamon’s Bazaar from 4 July – 6 August, serving up authentic South Indian and Sri Lankan fare.
And last but not least, 8 – 30 August will finish with a Cinnamon Kitchen twist on traditional Indian Street food.
Cocktails will be themed for each monthly pop-up. Ours were delicious! If you are a City worker, this really is a place to try at any time of the year, but do try to get along for the fun of the bazaar before it’s gone
Find out what’s on right now from their website:
We were guests of Anise.