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|Address:||The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BU|
|Tel:||020 7222 2555|
|Price: £64.00||Wine: £28.00||Champagne: £56.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 7.30am-12M (Sat 12N- )|
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“It's a bit too much like a library in there” is what some say when describing a venue lacking in atmosphere. “It used to be a library in there” could be a fitting way to note the slightly staid formality that hangs in the air of The Cinnamon Club. Remember, this is the MPs' favourite, and it's adorned with a relic of its past – an austere looking old-fashioned bookshelf, which lines the back wall. The ambience is largely a sum of these parts: relics, MPs, old-fashioned, austere. But enough about that, because a restaurant should be judged mainly on its food – and it's here The Cinnamon Club scores highly.
Flavours are subtle, perhaps too subtle for some diners, and well presented. Beef kebab is garnished with beautifully executed coriander paste, offset with star anise flavoured gel and arranged on the plate with a geometric precision. A main of tandoori guinea fowl and dhal was aromatic and demonstrated a deftness of flavouring a world away from posturing curry houses – but perhaps lacked true wow factor. Some believe Indian restaurants aren't a great place for desserts – if this is the case, and I can see the argument for it, it's a real betrayal of Indian cuisine (even simple street fare such as jalebis and other Indian sweets are amazing). Luckily, The Cinnamon Club doesn't fall into the trap of offering mere dessert tokenism (mango sorbet etc). Indeed, finish with the yoghurt and cardamom brule and experience a perfect blend of flavour and texture.
Value for money is a hard one to call: go for the £22 a head set meal and you might consider it a steal; opt for the £180 tasting menu (with some dishes requiring a supplement) and the bill could make for grim reading.