Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Restaurant review: Cinnamon Soho

This hip new join seamlessly blends East and West

Written by Fiona Hicks

There are close to 1000 Indian restaurants in London. A venue might boast the most succulent tandoori meat, the fluffiest naan and the crispiest bhaji, yet they will still struggle to stand out.

This is why Cinnamon Soho – the latest addition to the Cinnamon family – is on to something. They have put a unique spin on their menu by presenting traditional Indian fare with a subtle European twist. It is a curious concept, and one which could easily become gimmicky, but they pull it off which panache. Cinnamon-01-590

My friend and I started our meal with the naughtily-named Balls! (their exclamation mark, by the way). This dish has recently been voted one of Time Out’s 100 Best Dishes in London, and with good reason.

Lined up on an understated slate plate, each of the balls comes with an artful smear of individual relish. In line with the fusion theme, they combine the texture you wouldn’t expect of a typical Indian dish, with the flavour that you would. They are all a glorious amalgamation of dumpling and croquette, but my favourite was the one which loosely resembled a Scotch egg. A meat-free combination of quail’s egg and beetroot, with a delicate Asian flavour, it is the kind of bitesize treat that you wish wasn’t…well...bitesize.


Determined to sample everything, my friend and I opted to share our mains too. The Old-style Delhi Fenugreek Chicken was Indian fare at its best: tender meat perfectly infused, with just the right amount of sauce. The Keralan Seafood Pie was even better. A rich, creamy concoction boasting generous amounts of king prawns and salmon, it was served up (as the names suggests) in the form of a British a fish pie. The pancake-ish topping was delightfully stodgy without being heavy.

cs fishpie

These dishes were so satiating that you could really get away without an accompaniment, and yet – unsurprisingly – we were tempted by too much on the menu. The Naan was wonderfully light, the Black Lentils hearty and the Sprouted Fenugreek and Moong Salad deliciously healthy. The portions do not look enormous, but they are certainly filling.

My friend and also tried a couple of the cocktails, which also strive to capture the same flair as the food. My Spicy Berry Martini was perfectly tart with an interesting edge of spiciness, while my friend’s Burning With Passion long cocktail was quite the spectacle, served up with a burning shot in a passion fruit half.

cs downstairs

We dined early but were not rushed through our meal. As we were leaving the night was just beginning, with crowds pouring in to create an ebullient atmosphere in the elegantly-appointed dining room.

It is worth noting that unlike many stylish London eateries which employ a no-bookings policy to create hype, you are able to reserve a table at Cinnamon Soho, even for a paltry two people. Book away – there will be a waiting list of London’s curry-loving folk before long.

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