Located right in the heart of corporate London, Cinnamon Kitchen City – an outpost of Vivek Singh’s growing empire of high-end Indian restaurants – could easily have become a canteen for power-lunching City types. But Singh had other ideas, instead creating a restaurant that feels at once grand yet intimate; casual yet sophisticated. A place that certainly works for off-duty traders (found here both early and late in the day as various markets close) but one that also draws in a disparate crowd of Shoreditch hipsters, multi-generational families, and nervy Tinder daters.
The space itself is vast, with a large bar to your left as you enter from Devonshire Square, and the large restaurant to the right.
In the corner is the eponymous kitchen itself, which offers a theatrical backdrop of flames, smoke, and gastronomic toil to your meal. But as pleasing as the space is, it is the food that leads here.
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For those with a serious appetite, an excellent place to start is the sharing kebab platter for two, which features smoky grilled king prawns, chicken tikka served on the bone, slices of perfectly pink lamb fillet and soft tandoori cod. Some mixed grills have obvious star acts and also-rans, here it is difficult to pick a winner.
If you haven’t come with a seriously rumbling stomach, the palak patta chaat, a combination of deep fried spinach and carom fritter with yoghurt, tamarind and coriander chutney is a delicious and less overwhelming alternative.
Onward to mains where a spicy tomato tamarind sauce brings out the best of my dining companion’s monkfish, while my Tandoori chicken breast with pomegranate, mint chilli korma is also well pitched.
And because we are unashamed gluttons, we also opted for the trio of dahls, which each come in their own gleaming stainless steel pan – the yellow lentils and chickpeas both tasty, but the buttery black dahl is the best of the bunch.
Big flavours need a big wine to match, and the Fabre Montmayou Reserva Malbec we are recommended is nicely pitched, offering a robust but not overpowering compliment to our choices.
Ice-cream and kulfi with honeycomb crumble bring our overindulgent meal to an excessive conclusion – and as we leave we pledge not to put ourselves in the way of such dangerously moreish food again. A few weeks later we have already booked our return visit.
Cinnamon Kitchen City, 9 Devonshire Square, EC2M 4YL. To book, visit cinnamon-kitchen.com
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