What They Say
Cinnamon Kitchen opened in 2008 and brings a new wave of culinary innovation and experimentation to the city of London. The high-energy, theatrical dining room, with its open tandoor grill, offers an interactive dining experience which is as memorable as the food.
Since Cinnamon Kitchen opened it has established itself as one of the finest modern Indian restaurants in London. Cinnamon Kitchen continues to challenge the status quo by fusing the spice of the subcontinent with the finest British ingredients and culinary traditions to create modern dishes that remain classic and timeless.
Classically trained in India, Vivek Singh has transformed the face of Indian cooking by drawing inspiration from age-old recipes and ideas and evolving them to create dishes ‘beyond authenticity’.
With a global reputation as one of the masters of Indian fine dining, Vivek Singh’s signature culinary style marries modern Indian flavours with Western techniques. Executive Chef & CEO of four London and one Oxford restaurants, author of six cookbooks and a regular face on both television and live cookery events across the country, Vivek Singh is one of the most inspiring Indian chefs of his generation.
Outside of the kitchen, Vivek has authored three bestselling cookbooks and is a regular on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, Celebrity MasterChef and UKTV’s Market Kitchen.
Industrial chic – all exposed pipework and artfully uplit pale brickwork – meets relaxed modern dining in a room built in one of the old railway arches and buzzing with the contented hum of well-fed, happy punters. Comfortable bucket chairs are upholstered in old gold and teal velvet; tables are plain and wooden.
A couple of long banquettes upholstered in the same teal velvet line two walls and there is a floating mezzanine offering private dining for 18 covers that would be great for an intimate birthday party. The curved ceiling up here is cleverly lit too, really making the most of the arches’ brickwork.
It’s difficult to narrow the crowd down to any particular demographic: mainly post-work (American Embassy?) or locals in one of the many new riverside flats, we conclude, before catching sight of three South African girls at the next table who, judging by their profusion of designer shopping bags, are clearly tourists, and a pair of chic black Frenchmen at another. In fact, the clientele is strikingly diverse, and could have been assembled by any ad agency wanting to provide a microcosm of modern London. A good smattering of Indians reassure us that Vivek Singh is as good a chef as the blurb pronounces and whets our appetite for what lies ahead.
Service is warm and welcoming throughout, and a special mention must go to the head waiter, Rejab, who talks us through all the dishes and for whom nothing, it seems, is too much trouble.
Sensibly, we plump for the 9-Dish Sharing Feast, an extremely reasonable £39 per head, as it turns out (minimum 2 people). First up is ‘SAMOSA CHAAT vegetable samosa, curried chickpeas, yoghurt’, a fresh and spicy delight. The samosa’s zingy green filling is light and herby, almost citrusy, its fierce chilli heat tempered by cooling yoghurt and the nutty, delicately spiced chickpeas. Absolutely delicious.
Next we are served ‘ACHARI LAMB FILLET smoked paprika raita, coriander chutney’ – a beautiful plate of four fillets of exceptionally tender lamb, grill-blackened without, pink and juicy within, alongside a little mound of grated beetroot and carrot, a pool each of vivid green coriander chutney and creamy smoked paprika raita providing a beautiful contrast of colours and flavours, as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate. We look at one another with glee, realisation now dawning that this is truly exceptional cooking.
We follow this by sharing ‘BATTERSEA BHEL PAPDI crisp wheat & puffed rice chaat’ and ‘SOFIANI MURG TIKKA chicken breast, fennel & coriander, coriander chutney’, the former as much about texture as flavour, though there is an intriguing hint of peanut running through the chaat. The chicken though – wow. Again the meat is exemplary in its tenderness, each of the individual herbs and spices quite easily discernible, just yum.
‘KASUNDI TANDOORI SALMON Kasundi mustard, honey, yoghurt’ comes next, really very good only-just-cooked salmon pieces flaking apart, smooth and silky in their yoghurt sauce. We are now starting to feel quite full, but the food is so delicious that we plough bravely on, taking one for the team.
‘PANEER BUTTER MASALA paneer & peas, rich onion sauce, fenugreek’, ‘KERALAN SHRIMP CURRY shallot & green mango, coconut & curry leaf’ and ‘Black lentils/Turmeric & lemon rice’ conclude the savoury mains, and here I have to say that after a taste of each (all of which are mouth-wateringly delicious, with their unadvertised accompaniment of blackened flatbreads) we reluctantly admit defeat, asking for a doggy bag for what we can’t finish.
As is always the case, though, there is somehow room in a tiny corner of our stomachs for pudding – in this case, the aptly named ‘ROYAL PUNJABI MALAI KULFI saffron & cardamom.’ Saffron and cardamom really are favours fit for a maharaja and we return home very full, but happy, content in the knowledge that there is more of this to come tomorrow.
And more of it there is. The leftovers provide a fantastic lunch for the two of us, making that £39 a head look very reasonable indeed.
The long wine list includes 14 whites, 4 fine whites, a similar number of reds and fine reds, three roses, three pudding wines, two ports and three champagnes; the longer drinks menu some tempting-sounding cocktails (‘MANGO SOUR – Giffard Pacifico triple sec liqueur infused with fresh mangoes, Havana rum, sweet and sour’) as well as several ciders and beers. It being a school night we content ourselves with a very modest couple of bottles of ‘MACCABEO – El Pinar de Villena Blanco, Las Virtudes, Alicante Spain’.
In a Nutshell
Mouth-watering modern Indian cuisine, reasonably priced, sweetly and knowledgably served in fun, convivial surroundings.
Cinnamon Kitchen Battersea
4 Arches Lane
Opening hours: Tue – Sat / 12:00 – 23:00; Sun / 12:00 – 22:00