Cinnamon Kitchen goes South of the River:
I’m a huge fan of Vivek Singh, I love his restaurants, and I love his cookbooks which enable me to try to reproduce his creative and innovative dishes at home. I also love Battersea, having lived there for 5 years in my late 20s/early 30s. So when the chance cropped up to try a new Cinnamon Kitchen, in the new part of the iconic Battersea Power Station, it had my name written all over it. The newest Cinnamon Kitchen is situated near Chelsea Bridge inside a large railway arch, approached through this colourful portal. It was about a 10-15 minute walk from either Battersea Park or Queenstown Road railway stations (we took slightly longer as we paused to look at my previous house).
We were warmly welcomed and settled down with a glass of Coconut Kir for my companion and a Sherried Sandalwood for me whilst we pondered our dinner choices. The cocktails were unusual and very, very good. There were so many dishes that we liked the sound of, that it was a hard choice; our waiter was very patient as we asked loads of questions about the spice and heat levels of each dish. To start with my companion opted for Kerala spiced lobster soup flamed with cognac, which provided something of a display for the other diners as well as ourselves.
It was everything that a lobster soup should be; rich, extremely decadent, and utterly delicious. I’d chosen a starter from the grill section of the menu, partly as it’s one of the recipes in the Cinnamon Kitchen cookbook that I’ve attempted to make myself and I wanted to experience the ‘real thing’. The pink aubergine came crusted in a sesame and peanut crumble with a tamarind sauce. The aubergine was wonderfully smoky, something that I haven’t been able to achieve at home. Vivek came around to ask if we were enjoying the meal, and I was able to ask the secret to the smokiness. He said that without a tandoor it’s hard to achieve at home, but that burning the outside of the aubergine on a gas flame would help. I now know what to do!
For our main courses, my companion selected the Tandoori chicken breast with zingy mint chilli korma and pilau rice, whilst I opted for the char-grilled Pollock with pickling spices, yellow lentils, and bitter melon chutney. The chicken breast was cooked perfectly, moist and succulent, whilst my fish broke into beautiful flakes. We both felt though that the spicing was perhaps a little too on the safe side, and could have been a little bolder.
Our side dish turned out to be the star of the show. I’d been a little nervous about this dish having suffered from my mother’s awful cooking of offal when I was a child. The duck liver and heart Tak-a-Tak was delicious though; full of flavour with tiny soft pieces of meat in a rich ‘dry’ sauce. A long way from my mother’s hard pig liver!
Dessert was a hot dark chocolate mousse with cinnamon ice cream for my companion. A little pot of chocolatey wonderfulness was quickly consumed and declared delicious.
This time, the drama in the dining room was caused by my dessert, The Himalayan Queen, a trio of pistachio kulfi, mango and thandai ice cream covered with spiced meringue, flamed with rum just enough to colour the meringue. Oh my goodness, it was so light, fluffy, delicious, and so pretty. I really loved this.
4 Arches Lane,