By Jonathan Hatchman, Food Editor, @TLE_Food
Opened as the sibling of Westminster’s Cinnamon Club, situated within a Grade II listed Library, Cinnamon Kitchen landed in East London’s Devonshire Square in 2008, just metres from Liverpool Street Station. While Brick Lane is generally regarded as the area’s prime Indian restaurant destination, Cinnamon Kitchen was surprisingly busy during our early dinner visit, leading up to the recent grand reopening of Cinnamon Club, having undergone a £1 million refurbishment, as well as the introduction of a brand new menu from Executive Chef Vivek Singh and Head Chef Rakesh Ravindran Nair.
Food aside, Cinnamon Kitchen is much less similar to a traditional Indian restaurant than some of the Capital’s other premiere eating spots. Inside, the main dining area is airy and suave, although the colour scheme does resemble a display of a Dulux colour chart, showcasing almost every shade of brown that’s readily available. There’s also an open grill that’s similar to that of some of the City’s most promising Japanese restaurants, boasting dishes such as grilled aubergine with sesame seeds and peanut crumble, chicken wings with chilli and honey, and English asparagus with curried yoghurt. The latter of which includes a heap of gunpowder – an ingredient with a real acquired taste, reminiscent of the mouth feel upon awaking on the morning of November 6th, having spent the previous evening with around too many bonfires. Also from the grill, the Kadhai spiced chicken livers and onions are cooked and marinated wonderfully, served as a starter or main sized portion (as is the case with all of the grill offerings), presented atop a slice of brioche that adds a European stamp to the dish. My girlfriend’s lamb escalopes are also cooked perfectly, and surprisingly tender, including a salad that’s topped with a black stone flower. Just one of the odd ingredients on offer at Cinnamon Kitchen, the sort that fill some of the City’s most highly regarded, Michelin starred kitchens.
As for the mains, my smoked saddle of Kentish lamb is also pleasing. Recommended over the more expensive Tandoori spiced red deer, the lamb is served with rich yellow Rajasthani spiced corn sauce and pilau rice. The meat is cooked well, even though slightly over for my order of medium-rare, but the whole dish is lacking the spice punch that would be expected from such a restaurant. That aside, it’s all very pleasurable, and the additional Peshwari naan is simply magnificent. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the Cumin profiterole (£7) that we decide to share. I’ve eaten far worse desserts, but some small issues do ruin the dish – the creamy cardamom shrikhand filling is delightful, however the sickly toffee sauce that tastes almost burnt is an unwelcome taste, and although glazed strawberries are included as an accompaniment, according to the menu, we’re blessed with less than one, which is a shame given their palate cleansing abilities against the cloying sauce.
That aside, the experience at Cinnamon Kitchen is ideal with its convenient city location for a post-work feast, as well slightly cheaper taste of what’s on offer at their famous big sister restaurant.
Cinnamon Kitchen can be found at 9 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YL.