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 retains 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.