As a south Londoner myself, I always welcome with enthusiasm the news of my favourite restaurants opening south of the Thames. That was the case with Cinnamon Kitchen by Vivek Singh, one of the best Indian chefs in London, now open in the new development around Battersea Power Station. My blog contributor Adrienne Fung visited the restaurant a few weeks ago and today shares her review here.
A few weeks ago, my friend and I had the pleasure of dining at Cinnamon Kitchen in Battersea, one of Executive Chef Vivek Singh’s four restaurants in London. Chef Singh is one of the most celebrated modern Indian chefs in the UK, paying homage to his Indian roots while thoughtfully incorporating Western techniques and local ingredients.
I’ve had mixed feelings about modern Indian cuisine while here in London. Specifically, I’ve had a few experiences where dishes were so “modernised” and transformed to the point where it no longer felt like I was having Indian food at all. What I love most about authentic Indian food is that it’s no nonsense: unapologetically packed with spices and always comforting. Personally, there is no cuisine I find more satisfying which leads me to the dilemma I’ve had at a few modern Indian establishments where the heart and soul of Indian cooking seem to go missing. Fortunately, this was far from the case at Cinnamon Kitchen where I had one of the best meals of the year that evening.
Battersea Power Station (where Cinnamon Kitchen is located) is the perfect spot for a warm summer evening in London. With a mix of shops, restaurants and bars on the waterfront, it’s a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Cinnamon Kitchen’s dining space is stylish and cool. Situated under an archway below the trains, it has one of the most beautiful and funky interiors of all the Indian restaurants in town. There’s a swanky bar in front, a few outdoor tables for alfresco dining and an impressive private table on the second floor overlooking the restaurant, ideal for a party or event.
Our dinner consisted of a mix of small and large dishes to share from the À La Carte menu. A 9-course tasting menu is available for those with a bigger appetite or looking for a reason to celebrate.
To start, my friend and I shared the Pink Aubergine with Sesame, Tamarind and Peanut Crumble as well as the Banana Leaf Wrapped Sea Bass with Chilli, Tomato and Kokum Crust. Both dishes were excellent.
The combination of sweet, tangy, and savoury worked perfectly with the tender aubergine, and the peanut crumble gave the dish a nice bit of texture for contrast. The fish was extremely moist and had a pleasant kick of heat for those who don’t mind a little spice. This was one of the best fish dishes I’ve had in a long time.
For mains, we had the King Prawns in Bengali Turmeric Curry and the Clove Smoked Lamb Rump in a fennel and nutmeg sauce served with saffron rice. Once again, every dish was a hit.
The prawns were large and juicy, and the turmeric curry sauce wasn’t too overpowering allowing the delicate flavour from the prawn to shine through.
The lamb was also cooked perfectly and not a minute overdone, picking up delicious smoky flavour from the cloves in the process. The accompanying fennel and nutmeg sauce was absolutely addictive. You could happily sit there with a bowl of that sauce, a few pieces of hot naan and be completely content.
There’s really no Indian meal complete without a side of daal and naan and the versions served at Cinnamon Kitchen were top notch. The black daal is simmered for 24 hours and you can certainly taste it in the final product.
We finished the decadent meal with an even more decadent dessert: the Himalayan Queen, a trio of pistachio kulfi, mango and thandai ice cream covered with spiced meringue and flamed with rum. It was together a dessert and a show.
We absolutely loved our dinner at Cinnamon Kitchen thanks to the great service, cool ambiance, delicious food and some really nice signature cocktails. For those who love coconut, I highly recommend the Coconut Kir cocktail made with toasted coconut, homemade coconut liqueur, and vodka.
Not only did the food surpass my expectations, but also we couldn’t have asked for friendlier staff that graciously gave us a behind-the-scenes peak of their naan oven in action when my curious friend managed to find his way into the kitchen.
Having spoken to some of the cooks there that evening, all hailing from different regions of India, it’s no wonder why the food at Cinnamon Kitchen is so special. While they embrace new techniques and ingredients, they certainly don’t forget the roots of Indian cooking.
They have taken their love and passion for the food and used that to elevate the cuisine served at Cinnamon Kitchen, a modern Indian restaurant that is well worth visiting.
Disclaimer: Adrienne was a guest of the restaurant. All opinions are her own.