Tag Archives: Fine Indian Cuisine

The Cinnamon Club – a Westminster institution is still going strong

The Cinnamon Club burst onto the London restaurant scene well over a decade ago.  Owner and executive chef Vivek Singh transformed our understanding of Indian Cuisine and paved the way for a new generation of Indian restaurants such as Gymkhana and Trishna.  Over the years Vivek Singh and his restaurant have become a Westminster institution.  So when The Cinnamon Club closed its doors for 7 weeks in 2015 for a refurbishment, London’s foodies held their breath, horrified at the idea of change.  But they need not have worried, when the restaurant reopened the changes were subtle and a glorious new menu revealed.

For those who don’t know The Cinnamon Club is located in the old Westminster Library, a historic Grade II listed building that retainsCinnamon Club restaurant the old Westminster library many of its original features and which gives the restaurant the feeling of an old gentlemen’s club.  Post refurbishment much remains the same, although the interior has been freshened up and soft seating in stylish teal has been introduced to add a modernist touch. The books are still there, but they now line the main dining room and gallery, which adds a layer of colourful warmth to the main dining space.  The bars still have the rich wood panelling, which ensures that they are as snug and cosy as ever.  The cocktail menu has been re-imagined and has the perfect balance of old classics and Indian inspired creations and now there is a Gin Trolley Experience.  This three-tiered walnut gin trolley, which appears at your table for a dash of close-up mixology, has over 20 gins on offer along with a bewildering (but tempting) number of exotic gin based cocktails.

The menu is mouth-watering, Singh and head chef Rakesh Ravindar Nair have introduced new signature dishes, tasting menus with seasonal options and a whole section dedicated to celebratory sharing dishes.  However they have not abandoned the all time favourites of their well established clientele and the game classics and delicately-spiced fish remain.  We enjoyed the vegetable-centric option from the sharing section, the Morel Malai Kofta (paneer and royal cumin dumplings of stir-fried green pea and morels with tomato and fenugreek sauce and green pea pilau) which was incredibly good.  The wine list is outstanding with little something for every budget.  The dessert menu is nothing less than memorable and we couldn’t resist the Green cardamom brulée with rose petal biscotti which was perfectly paired with a glass of Recioto di Soave, Pieropan, Veneto, Italy, 2009.

The service is flawless and the staff deal superbly with a varied and demanding clientele.  Although if you are not a regular it might be worth noting that you may need a little patience and accept that you are there for the food and ambience not the attention of the staff.  Remember The Cinnamon club has a lot of regulars, a lot of high rollers and a lot of big names coming through its door.  And whilst every guest is important and is treated the same it is tricky for the staff to deal with such a demanding and varied crowd.  If you don’t expect to be pampered all the better and if you feel your neighbour is getting a bit more attention, well don’t be jealous just accept that that’s life in London.  Many use The Cinnamon club as a canteen and it has such a loyal following that it is hard to be a regular.  So just park your ego and let yourself go in the experience.  It is well worth it and you’ll enjoy your visit all the more.

For more information and reservations visit: http://cinnamonclub.com/

Photography is from The Cinnamon Clubs website.

The Cinnamon Club Restaurant
Cocktail from the cinnamon club’s Gin Trolley

Trishna London – Indian dining so fine it has a Michelin Star

Since opening its doors in 2008, Trishna has been wooing diners with contemporary Indian dishes from the coastal regions of South West India. It won its first Michelin Star in 2012 and has gone on to collect one each year since. Like its sister restaurant, Gymkhana, Trishna is the creation of chef-proprietor Karam Seth and last year Seth and his team returned their focus to Trishna. The interior has been revitalised, new dishes added to the menu and the wine list revamped.

The interior still has the pared back aesthetic of old but the rough walls and contemporary furniture have been joined by antique mirrors, bronze pendant lighting, marble top tables and banquette seating adjacent to the bar. It is a pleasant space with an informal air to it.  And it attracts a diverse range of diners: locals, Londoners, business people and tourists, all who have one thing in common: an appreciation of innovative Indian cuisine made from the highest quality seasonal ingredients.

We have been dining at Trishna for a few years now and it has never disappointed, offering a diverse and well balanced menu of south Indian coastal classics and innovative new dishes. This time we decided to leave everything to the experts and chose the seven course Koliwada menu.

New for us within this tasting menu was the Aubergine Rasma, which offered an innovative twist on the classic rasam by adding smoked aubergine, curry leaf and fennel pakora. A Broccoli samosa that took the humble samosa to the next level, this Indian stable was transformed into a thing of great beauty, the crisp pastry wrapping held an unbelievably flavoursome broccoli filling. The Aloo Chat, another classic snack, gave my current favourite made by the team at Gymkhana a run for its money. However the two were sufficiently different and equally delicious, so there could be no clear winner. We also enjoyed a couple of our old favourites including the Paneer Tikka which remains mouth-wateringly good and the Kuska Tarkar Biryani, an aromatic dish of rice, jackfruit, lotus roots and pink peppercorn raita that is simply exquisite and provides the diner with a creative alternative to the traditional Biryani.

Wine is a big deal at Seth’s restaurants and the wine list here is extensive and full of classics and lesser known surprises. At Trishna every dish on the menu has a wine matched to it and our sommelier made some memorable suggestions by the glass, as required throughout the meal, adjusting them according to our personal taste as well as the demands of the dish. We were treated to the rather nice Billecart-Salmon, Brut Reserve; an interesting and delicious Viognier from Greece; a refreshing Rotgipfler from Austria and a superb Pinot Noir from Germany. Alternatively, there is a wine pairing menu to accompany the Kouwada menu, which comes highly recommended.

Trishna continues to be one of the best Indian restaurants in London and it deserves all the praise it gets. There is good food and excellent service here but more than this, there is a real sense of heart and passion in the place.

For more information about Trishna London please visit: http://www.trishnalondon.com/

Footnotes and Credits: The blogger dined at Trishna as a regular paying guest. Images are via Google images and credits go to Trishna. Trishna interior