A Festival of Flavour: Diwali at The Cinnamon Club

03 Nov 2016

Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, is observed and celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains around the world and coincides with Hindu New year, signifying new beginnings.

Around the world, people clean and decorate their homes, light oil lamps called diyas, pray to the Gods and then set off fireworks and enjoy a feast and sweets with their families.

In honour of Diwali, the iconic Cinnamon Club offered a limited edition four-course tasting menu for £48 per person (it finishes on November 4th). 

While the price tag seemed steep, coming from successful Indian chef Vivek Singh, who has five cookbooks and makes regular appearances on BBC’s Saturday kitchen, it was bound to be a hit, so we decided to check it out.

Opened since 2001, The Cinnamon Club is situated in a Grade II-listed Old Westminster Library. Now an institution in the city, the restaurant underwent a £1 million transformation and recently re-opened with a new menu.

As a self-confessed book nerd, dining in any library would be the dream, but this one took the cake. With a buzzing atmosphere and stunning surroundings to take in throughout the meal, eating at The Cinnamon Club is a much-needed break from the daily grind. 

Keeping in Diwali tradition, candles were lit on our table and the lighting was dim as we were served the tasting menu, which started with an appetiser of pithod, lentil kachori and a very tender lamb escalope on wheat crisp.

We enjoyed this with a fruity yet cinnamon-infused bellini, the perfect start to the meal.

The website had promised that Singh “fused Indian flavours and western techniques and paved the way for a whole new modern Indian dining scene in London,” and this was certainly true throughout the meal.

After a mouth-watering fish starter, we enjoyed a rest course of a refreshing cranberry and ginger granita before moving on to the main event – chargrilled mallard breast with masala rice and smoky paprika raita. Easily the best dish of the evening, the pull-apart meat was flavourful and succulent. 

All of this was paired with a perfect bottle of medium-bodied red, selected by the manager.

The meal ended with a dessert of saffron pistachio kulfi served in a crisp rice vermicelli nest, rounding out an array of complementary flavours.

We washed it all down with an espresso, which was served with a selection of delicious petit fours.

The small, beautifully presented dishes were perfectly portioned to allow us to enjoy each one, and the flavours and spices were well balanced, leaving us satisfied without feeling that we’d overeaten. 

The attentive and knowledgeable staff helped to deliver the full experience – explaining each dish as they were brought to the tables and recommending wine pairings, not a glass went empty in the dining room and all demands appeared to be met. 

The food was outstanding, and the location made for the perfect spot to hide away from the brisk weather – for a cosy, upscale date or somewhere special to take mum and dad, this is your spot. 


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