Summer Menu at Anise and Cinnamon Kitchen:
Having been brought up on Indian food, it is not a cuisine I often like to go out for. In my opinion, my mother does it best. That being said, having heard wonderful things about the renowned chef, Vivek Singh and his approach to Indian dining, I naturally jumped at the chance to sample his culinary delights at his award winning restaurant in the City, Cinnamon Kitchen – sister restaurant to the iconic, fine dining, Cinnamon Club in Westminster.
Cinnamon Kitchen with its adjoining bar, Anise, aims to position itself as a fun, city hangout with a dining experience – a curious mixture of a cocktail bar on the one hand and modern, yet authentic Indian dining on the other.
Upon arriving, we were taken through to the bar and settled into a colourfully cushioned alcove against the window. I opted for the Devonshire Express – Cinnamon Kitchen’s take on the Espresso Martini, with a hint of cardamon. It tasted just as I had hoped.
We were then taken through to the main restaurant area – brightly lit and simply designed. My first impression was that this area could do with a little more detail to bring out its character and charm.
The food was spectacular.
To start, we had the pulled lamb shoulder sandwiched between a cumin bun and the stir-fried chilli paneer.
The pulled lamb was subtly spiced and didn’t distract from the soft, melt-in-your-mouth, juicy experience. There is nothing worse than when a dish is overpowered by chillis, not allowing you to focus on anything but the fire in your mouth.
I’m an absolute carnivore – all of the meat in the world, please. But the paneer for me was the best thing on the menu. The cheese, although fried, maintained a firm, yet soft and squishy texture. The honey-sweet spiced marinade complimented the tanginess of the cheese perfectly. It was beautifully done.
For mains we shared the king prawns drenched in a creamy coconut curry sauce with a side of ghee rice and also the Hyderabadi style lamb biryani. Out of the two dishes, the ‘coconut king prawns’ was my favourite. The biryani was delicious, but I prefer having something saucier with rice. If you’re big on spice, please note that this is a mild dish – necessary on such a hot and humid evening.
When you go to Cinnamon Kitchen….(and you should go!) consider your wine selection carefully. The wine we chose was red, woody and wonderful. However, it didn’t pair particularly well with the food that we ordered – a fresh crispy white wine would have worked much better with the paneer and the creamy coconut prawns. Unless you’re a total pro at wine and know how to pair it with your food (which neither myself or my dinner companion were), pick your food first and then ask the staff for their recommendation on the wine to accompany it.
After our mains, we were stuffed. But there is always room for dessert. I opted for the cheesecake – so light and fluffy, infused slightly with cardamom, on a bed of crushed, buttery biscuit. A welcome change of flavours but still in keeping with the meal.
I said it once, I’ll say it again – the food was spectacular. There was a range of unique dishes to pick from, each with its own contemporary twist. Cinnamon Kitchen has mastered the blend of authentic Indian and modern to cater for the English palette.
9 Devonshire Square London EC2M 4YL