Harden's survey result
“Still a classic” – this “elegant” destination in “Westminster’s lovely former library” has long been one of London’s most pre-eminent posh Indians; and its “interesting and idiosyncratic” cuisine has made it “something of an institution” (including amongst the politico classes – “being within division bell distance of Parliament, there’s a fair chance of spotting a well-known face or two”). Its enjoyment was “tempered by episodes of wobbly service over the last year”, however, and those who found the staff “over-stretched” were more likely to judge it “too expensive”.
“It’s been around a long time and is perhaps now overshadowed by newcomers like Gymkhana”, but this posh nouvelle Indian remains one of London’s most popular grand restaurants (and still features in our Top 40 most mentioned ranking) and many folks’ “go-to fancy Indian”. Set in Westminster’s “fantastic” old Public Library it has “a lovely club-like feel, with the bookshelves reaching to the ceiling” – an incongruous but somehow fitting backdrop for Vivek Singh’s “beautiful, innovative, nouvelle-Indian food” (“lots of complex flavours and some bite”). This was not a vintage year for its survey results, however, with gripes about “variable food, and service that ebbs and flows, which just isn’t acceptable at these prices”.
Vivek Singh’s “refined cuisine” served in the “magnificent” (slightly “cavernous”) setting of the old Westminster Public Library still creates a winning formula for London’s grandest nouvelle Indian, which is nowadays one of the Top-40 most-mentioned restaurants in town. If it were not quite so “expensive”, its ratings would reach even loftier heights.
For “inspirational Indian cuisine in a very classy setting”, this “impressive”, “airy” edifice that originally housed Westminster Public Library, would be many reporters’ top choice in London. It can seem “a little stuffy”, and even fans agree “you pay the price”, but disappointments are rare.
Re-opening in 2015 following a major refurbishment, Executive Chef Vivek Singh and Head Chef Rakesh Ravindran Nair have developed a stunning new menu that combines The Cinnamon Club’s signatures with new dishes and celebratory platters. The Cinnamon Club is committed to pushing boundaries and continues to evolve its trademark Indian dining experience.
|Wine per bottle||£28.00|
The Cinnamon Club Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Consistently good food and creative menu could do more for vegetarians though. "
"The old library dining room is immediately striking and huge, handling the enormous number of covers claimed with ease, although the downside of this is the high level of ambient noise, despite the high ceiling, but at least there is no music. We were welcomed like regular customers, and the tasting menu offers a tempting variety of regional specialities presented in a modern way. A taster of spicy minced chicken in a ball went down very well with our glass of small-grower champagne, as did the appetisers - tender chicken chaat in a very good pastry shell, lovely crab and berry salad with an interesting lotus root crisp, and super Scottish salmon, cured in house with spicy jhal. We still tend to favour low air miles in sourcing ingredients and were on the point of commenting about this when it transpired that the first starter prawns actually came from Down Under. However, this was one of the best ever prawn dishes for us - the luxurious, fleshy prawns perfectly done in a marvellous Kerala Allepey sauce, which had been restored to the menu (to the delight of the staff who considered it to be a real trump card for the restaurant). This dish was beautifully matched with a Ch de Retout white Haut-Medoc made from an unusual blend of grape varieties. This could have overshadowed the second starter, but the excellent minced Cumbrian lamb with its “mille feuille” kebab and its coriander notes stood up to the challenge. An unannounced palate cleanser with a pineapple flavour made a good introduction to the first main course, which pitted interestingly char-grilled monkfish against another Kerala curry sauce, its slightly vinegary nature making a very enjoyable accompaniment for the fish. After all the pleasing build-up it was disappointing to find that my second main of venison was chewy as well as difficult to cut even with a serrated knife. My troubles were spotted by the ever-attentive staff, the plate taken away and a new dish served acceptably swiftly. This time all was well and the quality of the venison and the, inevitably, Anjou pigeon with the brilliant pumpkin chutney showed what a shame it was that the first effort was not right. Our dessert was first-class, the shrikhand cardamom well-balanced against the sweetness of the black and red berries. An alluring menu put into expert practice with a multiplicity of spicy tastes which always had the palate tingling but were never overdone. Everything was properly professional, from the conception of the menu card to the description of the courses and the confident interaction of the staff with the customer, and in particular the way my troubles with the tenderness of the venison dish - there was no question of my being mistaken, it was simply customers are here to be pleased and so it is paramount for everything to be right for them. We will definitely be back."
"Creative Indian cuisine in lovey old English setting . Never been disappointed. "
"Astonishingly busy for a Tuesday. Delightful “posh” Indian food; relatively discreet but effective service and quite a buzz in the dining room. "
Old Westminster Library, Great Smith St, London, SW1P 3BU
|Number of Diners:|
lunch noon - 2.45 pm, Sun - 3pm, dinner 6 pm - 10.45 pm, Sun 5:30pm - 9pm
Last orders: 10.30 pm