Vivek Singh’s effortlessly sophisticated Cinnamon Club is not only one of the very few gastronomic destinations in Westminster, it’s also one of those rare Indian restaurants that is just as busy at lunchtime as it is in the evening, not to mention breakfast.
The setting within a galleried, book-lined room (formerly the Old Westminster Library) is a key part of the appeal, with quiet corners for anyone in need of privacy and a “good ambience” everywhere else for diners in search of more liveliness. “Excellent customer service” is also a given, from the friendly greeting full of smiles in the elegant entrance to the efficient, helpful waiting staff.
That said, the big selling point is Singh’s modern cooking, which evolves traditional approaches and techniques without losing sight of what makes each dish distinctly Indian. A plate of Herdwick lamb fillet atop a square of mille-feuille pastry might look European, but the flavour is totally authentic: ‘fabulous food with a twist”, combining “fantastic presentation” with “expert spicing”.
Other hits include wild king prawns, blackened from the grill but deliciously juicy, a delicate chicken breast in korma sauce, coated in a garlic naan crumble (“like Indian chicken Kiev”), and tandoori octopus tentacles fanned around a fennel salad. Sides, meanwhile, include renditions of superior breads, vivid chutneys and comforting dhals, as well as a chilled bitter melon salad to cut through all the richness.
Criticisms tend to focus on steep prices for small portions, but a restaurant that offers this sort of professionalism across the board is never going to come cheap. Breakfasts, masterclasses, guest chef dinners and a vegan tasting menu are some of the initiatives to keep regulars interested; there’s also an elegant bar majoring on gin and whisky, while private dining offers an experience every bit as slick as the main restaurant. A “sure-fire winner” all the way.