A fusion of British and Indian plates in Soho
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : Indian
Address : 5 Kingly St, Carnaby, Soho, London, W1B 5PF, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.cinnamonsoho.com
Opening Times : Mon-Sat: 9am-1am, Sun: 10am-4pm
Closest Tube : Oxford Circus
Vivek Singh was one of the first chefs to breathe new life into Indian food in the early noughties when he opened Cinnamon Club in the Grade II listed Westminster Library across from Parliament. It quickly became one of the most patronised Indian restaurants in London, on the back of which opened others, including Cinnamon Soho. On a Thursday night visit soon after Cinnamon Soho received an extensive refurbishment, the room was humming, with a big queue and people sitting at the bar area waiting to be led to their table.
The restaurant has been redesigned to channel the colourful dynamism of the Indian streets, with eye-poppingly vibrant hand-painted walls, tangled wire installations and vendor carts that could have been wheeled in off the streets of Delhi. Vintage barstools and mismatched seating adds to the topsy-turvy atmosphere. There's a cosy, narrow basement downstairs which would be ideal for large group bookings, but we took our seats upstairs in a room which was packed to the rafters with Thursday night revellers.
We availed ourselves of the cocktail list, ordering an espresso martini and a cinnamon bellini (with cinnamon tea, Goldschläger and Prosecco) while we perused the menu. As the small plates arrived, we segued into beer and prosecco which was a better match for the enthusiastic seasoning and vibrant flavours. We launched in with an array of toothsome snacks. Potato bonda balls stuffed a curry leaf and chilli mash into a chickpea batter, served with an array of chutneys and dips, some cooling, some piquant. Lamb shammi kebabs were moist, meaty orbs served with a mint and yoghurt hari.
For mains we enjoyed an incredibly succulent Kolkata spiced cod, with mustard, red onion and red rice flakes that blended just the right ratio of spice and flavour. The next dish - Tanjore style grilled prawns with a spinach porial - definitely offered a kick, both in the sauce and the marinade. Our favourite, however, was likely the lamb rogan josh shepherd's pie, which was served in a hot tin tiffin. We mopped all of these up with a beautiful slab of Peshwari naan cooked on the tandoor.
For something fun in the central of London, there are lots of great eating options in Kingly Court. Cinnamon Soho, one of the original, remains one of the best.