The third restaurant from Vivek Singh is probably his third best
I have family in Malaysia and while Antonia, my brother and I were there on holiday a few years ago we met up with one of my uncles, Peter. He was so good to us and took us to a couple of incredibly good restaurants in KL. He told us he was coming over to London for a few days on business, which gave Antonia and I the perfect opportunity to repay the favour and take him out for dinner.
Wanting to stay clear of Chinese and Malay restaurants for obvious reasons I suggested we go to Cinnamon Soho. The third restaurant from Vivek Singh of The Cinnamon Club & Cinnamon Kitchen (who I saw downstairs), which offers an all-day dining menu in a great location just off the cobbles of Carnaby Street. This Soho version is more informal than it’s sister restaurants and offers a wider range of dishes.
When we arrived at 19:15 the place was empty bar one other table and surprisingly, pretty much stayed that way throughout the evening (maybe Mondays are always quiet here). There are two narrow floors here, a ground floor and basement. Peter had invited a couple of his colleagues who turned out to be great fun, which made us a party of 5 and we were seated on a round table at the back of the ground floor by the bar.
Cinnamon Soho has big, awkward menus with food on one side and drinks on the reverse and started to look over the options. In true Malay style we decided to order a load of dishes to share – my favourite way of eating. We tried a couple of starters, which were both delicious, Burnt chilli chicken and Stir-fried shrimp with curry leaf and black pepper. The chicken was spicy, full of flavour and had a lovely yoghurt dip to cool it down, while the shrimp were more subtly flavoured but still beautifully fragrant and tender.
For the main courses (which all come with rice) we ordered Laal maas – fiery Rajasthani Lamb curry, which was my kind of curry – tender, slow cooked chunks of lamb with a think, rich, highly spiced tomato based sauce, although I would have liked it a little hotter. A Tandoori spiced chicken, cashew nut korma which was lovely if you don’t want anything spicy. Seared duck breast, which was nice and pink and had a light tamarind sauce. A Lucknow-style free range chicken biryani which I found quite bland, just a chicken leg on a bed plain rice with some chicken juices and the Spice crusted Hake with Colombo curry sauce, which whilst well cooked wasn’t exactly bursting with flavour either. We also ordered a side of Stir-fried okra with dried mango, which went well with the less punchy dishes thanks to the strong spices it was cooked in and a nice, fresh Garlic Naan to mop up any leftover sauces.
On to dessert we ordered a dessert platter, which had a bit of everything including some lovely rich Kulfi and separate portions of the Sticky Toffee Pudding with ginger and garam masala and Mango and Cardamom Brûlée. I thought the sticky toffee pudding was quite dry but the brûlée was beautifully smooth and rich.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect at Cinnamon Soho. I thought it would be a bit more formal but I’m glad it wasn’t. Although it’s pretty new the furnishings didn’t feel it, our table was pretty wobbly for a start! I was underwhelmed by some of the main courses we ordered, however both starters we tried were excellent so I’d suggest treating it like a tapas restaurant and ordering the majority of the starters on the menu, a few sides and a couple of mains for the table.
|Burnt chilli chicken||£5.80|
|Spice crusted Hake||£14.00|
|Rajasthani Lamb curry||£14.00|
|Tandoori spiced chicken korma||£14.50|
|Sticky toffee pudding||£4.75|
|Mango and cardamom brûlée||£5.00|
|Orange Juice x 2||£2.50 each|
5 Kingly Street,
London W1B 5PF T