The Cinnamon Club … nicely spicy

When I visited: June 2015

Location: London, near Westminster

Team: Vivek Singh (Chef Patron), Rakesh Nair (Head Chef), Jean-Luc Giquel (General Manager), Chantal Serrano (Head Sommelier)

Rating in the Michelin Guide: Recommended

Dining Owl Hoot rating: 4/5

What to wear: Men – shirt and jacket and nice trousers and shoes; women – a smart dress and/or smart trousers and a top

Ambience: Masculine, lined with books (used to be Westminster Library)

Course of the meal: Tandoori wild Spencer Gulf king prawns with coconut chutney

If I could change one thing: More charm

Review:

I visited The Cinnamon Club with my partner Owl as we had a voucher given to us as a present for a tasting dinner with paired wines (not something we can say no to!). Our first impressions weren’t that brilliant as the greeting staff were a bit charmless as were the bar staff in the bar area where we had a cocktail. However, Alexis, who looked after us during the meal, was very charming and said we should ask to be seated in his section again (and also presented a red rose as a gift to us in a ‘subtle’ way by pretending it came from behind the back of the male Owl among us!).

With our cocktails (a margarita and an East India) we had snacks of spicy corn bites. If we hadn’t had our voucher it would have cost us £117 for the tasting menu with premier paired wines (or £75 per person without).

Our amuse bouche was spiced potato with lime and coriander chutney – a very traditional Indian dish and a well-executed course to start. We then had Malabari mussel and date pickle on toasted brioche (with a glass of Malvasia Simon di Brazzan, Friuli, Italy 2010), followed by char-grilled breast of Anjou squab pigeon with pomegranate and jaggery sauce (with a glass of Carmenere Gran Reserva, Calcu, Colchagua Valley, Chile, 2011), which was particularly tender and delicious.

We had an in-between course of spiced yoghurt gnocchi with coriander chutney before moving on to tandoori wild Spencer Gulf king prawns with coconut chutney (paired with Friulano At Aquila del Torre, Friuli, Italy 2011). Our next in-between course was a very refreshing lime and mint sorbet, before the fish course of spice crusted halibut with tomato tamarind sauce (paired with Cuvee Marie Louise, Domaine des Gravenne, Cotes du Rhone, France 2011).

The meatiest of our courses was the spice crusted fillet steak of Wagyu beef with stir-fried baby morels (costing a supplement of £25) paired with a glass of lovely red Hardade do Portocarro (Torrao, Penninsula de Setubal, Portugal, 2008). This was followed by a pre-dessert of bitter chocolate mousse in the obligatory quenelle shape with mango chutney (I appreciated this Indian touch to a traditional English dessert). As we were there due to a gift voucher, we then got a ‘Congratulations’ iced panna cotta with a glass of champagne – delicious and generous.

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Our dessert was a light honey lime cheesecake with tamarind glazed English strawberries (paired with Coteaux du Layon St Aubin, Domaine des Barres, Loire, France 2012). We then had green tea with petits fours (mango jelly, white chocolate truffle with spices, dark chocolate truffle, shortbread biscuit) and got the aforementioned red rose as well as a mini bag of spices as takeaway gifts.

As delicious as much of the meal was, it was very heavy and you’d have to be pretty hungry to attempt it, especially with the pairing wines. However, the menu is comprehensive and there are of course lighter options. If it could have a charm injection it might be looking at a Michelin star.

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