Restaurants in Shoreditch: A Review of Cinnamon Kitchen
There’s no shortage of Indian restaurants in Shoreditch – Brick Lane has seen to that. What there aren’t so many of, however, are Indian restaurants with something to set them apart.
Cinnamon Kitchen, with its inventive modern Indian menu, is one of the few that fall into that category. Sibling to the popular Cinnamon Club, it puts a contemporary spin on the vibrancy and excitement of Indian cooking.
Located just across the road from Liverpool Street in Devonshire Square, Cinnamon Kitchen is a vast, airy space with an open tandoori grill running along one side. It manages to feel at once cavernous and intimate, helped in part by the soft glow of the elegant globe-like lamps that encircle the room.
There’s much to tempt on the menu. We eventually settle on tandoori cod and chargrilled pork ribs to start. The vivid yellow cod comes with a rainbow of zingy sauces, and is delicately flavoured with carom and nigella seeds. The spices are skilfully balanced with the flavour of the fish, which could have easily been overpowered. The deliciously sticky pork ribs come with a chilli and honey glaze, a sprinkling of sesame seeds and a rich, slightly sweet sauce. They’re hearty and tasty and couldn’t be more satisfying.
Onto the mains. Goan-style pork cheek vindaloo is a winner, the chunks of pork exquisitely tender, the sauce deeply flavoured and vibrantly spiced. The masala mash it comes with is less successful, but the rest of the dish is so good it doesn’t matter. Green spiced monkfish comes perched on top of a lively tomato and tamarind sauce and coated in an intensely coloured but subtly tasty spice blend that is, again, well-balanced with the delicate flavour of its host.
When it comes to ordering desserts I’m intrigued by Jodhpuri ghevar, which turns out to be quite an extraordinary confection. It looks like something Willie Wonka might have invented, its sticky-sweet syrup-infused base topped with a mountain of thick, creamy mousse dotted with bulbous caramelised milk dumplings. The explosion-in-a-sweetshop effect is completed with a scattering of crunchy, multicoloured nuggets. It’s a little bit strange and very, very sugary, but worth it for novelty value. Carrot halwa treacle tart is less flamboyant but more traditionally enjoyable, its sweet-but-spicy filling complemented perfectly by a scoop of cinnamon ice cream.
Cinnamon Kitchen is a welcome antidote to the many identikit Indian restaurants in Shoreditch, combining expertly-blended traditional Indian flavours with innovative contemporary flourishes and high-end ingredients.
Starters range from £8.50-£12, mains from £16.50-£37 and desserts from £6.50-£10. There’s also a seven-course tasting menu for £70 per person, or £115 with paired wines. There’s a good, varied wine list, with bottles priced from £24.50 to £155 and everything in between.