Let me just start this post by saying that my camera decided to have one of its ‘oh I’m just too tired to carry on’ moments as we sat down for dinner (I’ve sent it off for repairs whilst I’m in Greece as punishment), so I had to make do with my iPhone and a serious Photoshop session.
As we passed the heaving groups of tourists making their way to Westminster Abbey, I directed Papa Shep down a quiet side street. I could see his mild confusion as we made our way into an elegant building, with no menus or outside seating to be seen.
Hidden within the historic Grade II listed former Westminster Library, is the Cinnamon Club, an institutional Indian fine dining restaurant, popular with the city’s politicians for a exquisite business lunch.
As we were shown to our corner table, the sound of a live pianist and saxophone player filled the room, a beautiful sound to match the elegant setting; walls of classic novels and antique encyclopedias with a touch of shrubbery, a perfect spot for a book lover’s lunch.
I’d decided to treat my Paps to the Lazy Sundays Set Menu, a perfect option for a Father’s Day meal with four courses and a Champagne cocktail for just £40 per head.
My drink was delicious, a soothing mixture of spiced liqueur, orange bitters, Champagne and brown sugar. Dad opted to have a Saffron Mango Lassi instead, a yoghurt and fruit drink that is a traditional find in India. It was lovely and cool, I could imagine it to be the perfect refreshment during the hot Indian summer.
One of the reasons I selected to Sunday menu was for the wide variety of dishes available. There’s nothing worse than a set menu that offers one or two dishes to choose from, particularly for vegetarians like my Dad.
Our first course was a selection of pre-starters. We were told what they were, but I couldn’t remember the names of them five seconds later let alone as I write this post!
The fried ring was a spiced batter that didn’t particularly take my fancy. The treat on a stick however was most delicious, an Indian sandwich at its best! Lastly, the mini poppadom was a delicate treat with fresh sweet mango inside.
For starters, Dad selected the Koshimbur, a salad of sprouts, carrot, coconut and cashew nuts. He wasn’t massively overwhelmed (in his own words, ‘a mung bean is just a mung bean at the end of the day’) but enjoyed it none-the-less!
I couldn’t resist the sound of the seared Gressingham duck breast, served with spiced leg and mappas rolls with a sesame peanut sprinkle. It was so tasty, the crunchy nuts and smooth spicy sauce a perfection addition to the flavoursome rolls and perfectly cooked breast.
For main I chose the Norfolk free range chicken breast with spinach and apricot, and a garlic naan crumble.
I love me a creamy curry so at first I uuuummed with each mouthful… until the heat hit me. It was incredibly spicy, a little bit of a shock if I’m honest. I wouldn’t say I’m great with spice but I’m not afraid of a generous hint of chilli. Even Papa Shep said it was pretty damn hot, so I wasn’t being a wuss I swear!
The only thing that got me through the dish (apart from a jug of cold water and cheeky sip of Dad’s lassi) was the delicious garlic naan crumble and perfectly cooked chicken.
Dad was slightly more sensible than me, opting for the pan seared hake fillet with a madras style buttermilk sauce and steamed rice. He said the fish was cooked to perfection and the sauce was just delightful.
I did get serious food envy as the table across from us ordered the wild Spencer Gulf king prawns with a green mango sauce, it looked so damn good… I’ll just have to go back.
As we talked all things travel (some exciting Father-daughter trips in the making!), we looked around our setting, picking out some classic reads from our corner table.
We set our eyes on the dessert menu. I’d heard wonderful things about the spiced red pumpkin cake with popcorn ice cream however with a mouth full of heat, I wasn’t feeling anything with the word spice in it.
Instead we both couldn’t resist ordering the green cardamom brulée with rose petal biscotti. My Mum hands down makes the best brulées going so whenever I see a creative spin on my favourite pudding, I’m the first to state my choice.
It was a tempting sight, a large piece of rose biscotti ‘toast’ laid over a large bowl of sweet spiced brulée, a true Indian twist on a classic dessert (which instantly cooled my blistered mouth… okay I’m slightly exaggerating).
The perfectly thick layer of caramelised sugar gave way to the creamy custard beneath it… I’m now officially making myself drool.
Despite my spicy surprise main course, the food lived up to my expectations and I would definitely recommend it, particularly the Sunday menu which is excellent value, especially in comparison to the à la carte. Be sure to book between 12-5.30pm to enjoy the sound of live jazz to your meal.
Have you tried Indian fine dining? There are a few on my foodie bucket list so I’d love to hear your thoughts!