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Cinnamon Kitchen’s Festive Menu

December 13, 2014

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It had been far, far too long since I’d taken the trip across London to one of my favourite restaurants: Cinnamon Kitchen. When I try to describe it to people who haven’t been there, it’s quite difficult to get across how special it is. To say it’s a ‘contemporary Indian restaurant’ doesn’t really do justice to the excellence of the food and the innovative cooking that takes Indian cuisine to new heights, so that it’s really not comparable to the average – even very good – Indian meal that many of us have been used to. It is, simply, fine dining of the best kind that happens to have an Indian base, set within a contemporary, modern dining room that always buzzes with a great atmosphere but also combines its relaxed ambience with excellent service as well as the great food.

Some clue to the creativity of the food lies in Head Chef Abdul Yaseen’s background, which I learnt about when I interviewed him a couple of years ago (click here). Coming to UK in 2001, he was inspired by the Western techniques he discovered here. By combining these discoveries with the roots of the Indian cuisine he’d grown up with, he was able to find new ways of using the spices and flavours so familiar to him. What that has grown into is a cuisine that is exciting and different; eating Abdul’s food is a wonderful experience of tastes and layers of tastes; a first flavour unfolding into a deeper one, then a deeper one still. He’s known particularly for his canapés and is called the King of canapés – even the Hairy Bikers went to him for advice a couple of Christmases ago for their TV Christmas special. One of the best meals I’ve ever had was the special canapé tasting menu at Cinnamon Kitchen (click here) three years ago.

Last night I headed to Cinnamon Kitchen with Annie and Jerry for our pre-Christmas get-together and feeling in a festive mood, we chose the special Festive Menu at 4 courses plus coffee and petit fours for £55. The mood all about us was a bit more excitable than usual with large groups at tables obviously celebrating Christmas. It was very, very busy. However, it didn’t affect service. We took the meal slowly and were there for almost 3 hours, but there was no point at which service seemed too slow or in any way hurried in its delivery at our table. The waiting staff were all attentive as usual, seemed genuinely keen that we enjoy our meal and enthused with us when we said we loved a dish. It was very nice to say hello to Abdul again and interesting to see that he regularly came out of the kitchen for a brief look around to check how things were going in the dining room and that everyone was happy.

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A lovely amuse-bouche came with the bottle of fizz we’d ordered, and then after a little while our starter – a platter of assorted kebabs: paneer, salmon, chicken and lamb fillet – arrived.

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These were so delicately spiced; the salmon gorgeously moist and the meats tender. A middle course of Wild African Prawn with a coconut and lemon grass sauce followed.

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This was quite magnificent! It was a huge prawn; a fabulous sauce over the perfectly cooked prawn meat. There was a choice of two main courses, one a lamb dish, but we all went for Tandoori Red Deer with Root Vegetables and Yogurt Sauce.

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We were asked how we wanted our deer cooked and we all went for medium-rare. Again, the spicing was delicate but delicious: the sauce a perfect accompaniment to the meat which also had a good, delicate flavour and wasn’t too gamey (I’m not a great fan of very gamey flavours); baby turnips, beetroot and carrot added a little sweetness and texture.

There was a choice of two desserts and fortunately for me Annie and Jerry chose different ones, so I got a taste of Jerry’s dark chocolate cake with lime and white chocolate mousse.

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It had been difficult to decide which dessert to have but although the chocolate option was lovely I was also pleased by my own choice of Caram Masala Christmas Pudding with Nutmeg Custard.

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This was a much lighter pudding than the traditional British one and wonderfully flavoured with a gorgeous custard.

It had been a wonderful evening: great company, fabulous food, happy and buzzing atmosphere. Leaving the restaurant and heading towards Liverpool Street Station and a bus home, it was very lively outside too; Christmas celebrations were in full swing all about us. A bus took us almost to Annie and Jerry’s door. Jerry offered a whisky nightcap. We sat and talked a while before bed and said what a great start to our festive celebrations the evening had been.

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8 Comments
  1. What a treat, sounds like a special place.

  2. If I ever make it to London I have to go there. The food looks fantastic.

  3. Isn’t it nice when you know of a nice restaurant that serves consistently good innovative food. Your meal sounds terrific.

  4. Indian fine dining is something I’ve only experienced recently and have enjoyed. This looks well worth a visit if I’m in London.

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