I cannot believe this is my first foray into the Cinnamon Kitchen Collection. As an Indian, Londoner and self-confessed foodie, I must have been living under a rock all this time.
The latest opening (third from the CK series after Central London and Oxford, founded by Chef Vivek Singh) serves contemporary Indian food. The swanky new restaurant is located under the arches in the vicinity of the iconic Battersea Power Station, which is fast becoming a mecca for top notch restaurants.
Retail space must be cheap here (for now) as all the restaurants in this complex are palatial spaces compared to their narrow and awkward Central London counterparts. Like its neighbours, Cinnamon Battersea is a vast space with flatteringly subdued lighting, leatherette banquettes, rough brick walls, wooden tables and tiled floors.
Exposed ducts and catwalk spotlights give it an industrial theme, spot on for its location. The long, sleek, marble top bar captures your attention and creates a sense of arrival as you enter through the glass doors.
Looking ahead, your eyes are drawn to the ‘floating’ mezzanine floor which will be the restaurant’s private dining, looking like a bird cage perched on top.
Beyond is an open kitchen dishing out all the lovely culinary creations.
The menu has some small and sharing plates. They also offer a set lunch menu (2 courses for £18 and 3 courses for £21 which is great value considering the food here). After much umming and ahhing, we decided to try a selection of their small plates and larger mains.
First up was the Padron Pakora (£5.5) – fritters coated in a nicely spiced gram flour that gave it a robust and earthy flavour; very moreish. The accompanying thick coriander chutney was fresh and flavoursome. Little jewels of pomegranate seeds added a vibrant colour and nutty crunch to the whole ensemble. I would recommend ordering one each as they are too good to share.
Over the years, I have had many different versions of the Pao Bhaji (£7) both as a street snack as well as in a refined restaurant setting. CK’s version is up there with some of the best. Warm and buttery brioche-like bread is the perfect accompaniment to the vegetable curry, full of microscopic diced vegetables; bursting with flavours, texture and spice.
Having devoured the Paos quite quickly, we were left with a bit of the vegetables. Enter small plate number 3, the Chicken Tikka and Cheese Naan (£5.5). Soft and fluffy, nicely chargrilled flatbread engorged with a creamy chicken tikka filling and little bitty pieces. We used it to mop up the rest of the bhaji but was equally delicious eaten on its own.
A point about service – efficient and attentive. Tables were freed of crumbs and napkins/cutlery changed in between courses, which is a big thumbs up in my books.
Onto the mains; Kris had the Bhuna Lamb and Naan Roll (£12). It was described to me as an Indian take on the pizza, where the base is a leavened stuffed Naan topped with all sorts of delicious goodness – succulent tandoori-flavoured lamb pieces; slivers of radish and cucumber to keep it fresh and light; pomegranate and sprouts boosting the crunch factor. The whole lot was spooned over with dollops of some of that delicious coriander chutney.
For a change, I went for a vegetarian main. I haven’t eaten Chilli Paneer (cottage cheese) in ages and was chuffed to bits seeing Chilli Paneer Fried Rice (£12) on the menu. If you know me, you know my fondness for rice and this one is up there with my all time favourite rice dishes from Xu, Smoking Goat, Chicama and Indigo (I sense a blog coming!). Fluffy, spicy grains with hunks of cottage cheese and subtle oriental flavours sent me right back to my childhood days. This was one fusion-tastic dish!
We added a Potato Paratha (£4) and some Black Daal (£5.5). The stuffed paratha was gorgeous, again great on its own or to scoop up the thick and creamy lentils.
So the mains were banging too. After all that fiery and adventurous food, we had a bit of a cool off with a simple dessert – Trio of Homemade Ice Creams (Mango, Cinnamon, Thandai). It was the perfect end to the meal.
Food is on the spicier side, at least from the spectrum of dishes we tried. Another theme emerging was the quality of breads – simply marvellous. There is something special in that dough!
It has been a while since we have come across a menu where everything we ordered was excellent. But our meal at Cinnamon Kitchen Battersea was just that. Would I return? You bet! Would I recommend this place? Hell yeah!
Location: Cinnamon Kitchen Battersea, 4 Arches Lane, London, SW11 8AB
More information can be found here.