Was it the Colonel Mustar with the wrench in the library?
As I was perusing the cocktail menu while waiting for the Mr. to get to The Cinnamon Club for his birthday feast, Cluedo-themed flashbacks kept popping into my mind.
And for good reasons, as Chef Vivek Singh’s flagship restaurant, an instution in the world of Indian fine dining, is set in the historic Grade II listed former Westminster Library.
Opened 15 years ago, The Cinnamon Club has a long history of serving innovative and creative Indian cuisine in a magnificently majestic setting.
And the restaurant’s bar is no exception and is an absolute heaven for book- and cocktail-lovers alike.
Books all round, old London maps, beautiful, plush chairs in deep-blue, elegant charcoal and vibrant yellow shades…
… and stunning cocktails to match!
Pisco Punch (turmeric-infused pisco, herbal liqueur, lemon juice, pineapple syrup & preserved pineapple)
Refreshing, tropical but not too sweet, it’s the perfect drink for the season!
The Cinnamon Club’s signature cocktail, the Affinity (Mango infused Scotch whisky, sweet and dry vermouth, herbal liqueur, bitters) was an even bigger hit as it was perfectly mixed and just the right balance of strength and sweetness.
The perfect start to any celebration if you ask me!
Shortly after, we were led to our table in the restaurant’s main dining room.
And what a stunning room it is indeed: massive, luxurious yet so restrained, it’s the perfect backdrop to highlight both the building’s stunning features and Chef Vivek’s incredible modern Indian cuisine.
The perfect spot to get lost into a good book…
…or, you know, a good menu!
Soon after, the table started getting covered in fragrant plates.
As soon as we finished one, another immediately appeared in its place.
Much like having dinner in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast’s enchanted library, really.
First things first, more cocktails and some Champagne!
The amuse-bouche of the day, a cube of rice sponge (similar to South Indian Idli if only a bit more dry) with tomato chutney and other bits…
Super moist & succulent Reshmi kebab of Norfolk free range chicken, with excellent yoghurt raita & coriander chutney.
But the star of the whole evening was the dish that made us book a table in the first place after tasting it earlier this year at Taste of London: the restaurant’s signature Smoked Herdwick lamb fillet and galouti kebab mille feuille.
Layers of delicately spiced mince lamb meat, seared lamb fillet & velvety lamb kebab, with picked vegetables, raita & coriander chutney.
An extremely technical dish, where every element was cooked to perfection and came together to form one of the best things we’ve eaten all year.
So good in fact that the Mr. said he couldn’t get a better version of that same dish anywhere in India (and he’s really demanding when it comes to kebabs, so that’s really saying something!)
There was also Black lentil Makhani dal, which was very nicely spiced if only a touch too ‘bit-ey’.
Mopped up with sweet, soft Garlic naan (what else?)
Tandoori breast of Anjou squab pigeon, tawa mince of legs, black stone flower reduction
Juicy, pink pigeon breast, strong, almost offal-y mince, served alongside a generous quenelle of velvety, spicy mash, it was a lovely combination that could only have been improved by a bit more of the aromatic sauce on the plate…
Roast saddle of Romney Marsh lamb, corn sauce, pickled root vegetables, masala cashew nut
An unexpected combination that worked wonders, carried by eye-rollingly good lamb (I actually did) and subtle spicing across the plate.
Another shining example of The Cinnamon Club’s chefs way with lamb, and a beautiful combination with a glass of dry Bourgogne wine.
Pudding came with a bit of flambé-ing tableside show…
Baked Jalandhar, an Indian-inspired take on the classic Baked Alaska.
With layers of thandai (a traditional drink combining almonds, fennel seeds, cardamom, saffron, milk and sugar), saffron and carrot halwa ice cream topped with spiced meringue and set on fire before your very own eyes!
The ultimate exotic show-stopper of a pudding!
Last but not least, Green cardamom brulée with rose petal biscotti.
Silky smooth, with a good cardamom taste and a thin layer of caramelised sugar on top, it was everything a good brulée should be.
The birthday treat, complimentary Lassi panna cotta was also perfectly crafted.
Light, creamy & jiggle-y, it’s the perfect pudding for those times you wish you could manage pudding but aren’t sure you actually can.
Encouraged by the attentive and truly hospitable team, we linguered over chocolate truffle petits fours (and a sneaky little glass of sticky Pedro Ximenez) until late in the night.
Chatting, laughing and enjoying each other’s company.
The very best way to celebrate your nearest & dearest special day, and I cannot recommend The Cinnamon Club enough, especially for a special occasion.
It is not cheap, but considering the quality of the food, the drinks and the service, as well as the stunning venue and felted atmosphere, it’s well worth it and I garantee you’ll leave feeling like a Maharajah!
The Cinnamon Club, The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith St, London SW1P 3BU
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