Review of 'Cinnamon Kitchen Battersea'

Original Visit - March 26, 2018

We are big fans of Cinnamon Kitchen and it's head chef, Vivek Singh who has appeared on television many times and has a contemporary, English slant on the cuisine of his childhood in India. Fresh and delicious food are par for the course…The newest outpost of the Cinnamon Kitchen restaurants is in Phase 1 of the Battersea Power Station. We received an email notification that during their soft launch food would be 50% off…but what is it like? One word: Extraordinary. Three words: Extraordinary and welcoming.

Arches

Finding the restaurant is a bit of a trick but if you look for the train tracks (not in any of the new buildings) you are in the right place: It is in an arch under the train tracks (indeed, throughout the evening you can hear them passing overhead). The restaurant occupies the entire length of an arch and is basically a single room so when you enter you can see the whole length with open kitchen at the back, bar on the right at the front and an private entertaining area elevated above the seats in the middle of the room (toilets are located along a small corridor to the left of the kitchen at the back). The interior is, as the original Cinnamon Kitchen near Liverpool Street (London), very industrial indicating the air conditioning ducts along the ceiling (which made a slightly distracting noise throughout our meal). Somehow, despite this, the noise from other diners is not as noisy as you might expect partially due to the soft furnishings including benches along each wall.

Back Seating Area

We had several drinks while we waited for our table from the helpful and friendly bar staff. We were told the bar snacks follow the transportation theme and have small dishes representing stops along the train in India. The cocktail menu is small and, as expected, fairly pricey.

The menu consists of two pages split into Appetisers, Grills, Sides, Mains, Breads and Desserts. Of course, given the discount we were keen to try something from each…And so we did! The menu, chef Vivek later explained to us (!), is unique to this the location with dishes not available anywhere else.

For starters, I tried the “Spice crusted Lamb (Fillet Tomato salsa, smoked paprika raita)” (£9) which was delicious - So unbelievably tender with a bit of a kick of spices in the salsa.

Spice crusted Lamb Fillet

My companion had the Bombay Street Food (Vada pao, tapioca cake and chilli paneer“ (vegetarian, £8.50) which basically was a lentil slider along several cubes of a remarkably flavourful and firm paneer.

Bombay Street Food

While waiting for our mains the chef Vivek Singh, who was there when we visited, was out talking to people in the restaurant. He took his time to talk to people and all seemed very interested in what he had to say.

Vivek Explaining

For our mains, I had the “Clove smoked Lamb Rump (Fennel and nutmeg sauce, saffron rice” (£24) which, again, was deliciously tender lamb in a beautiful, slightly spicy sauce and beautifully fluffy saffron rice. When I ordered, very appropriately, I was asked how I wanted the lamp prepared (I chose, obviously, medium rare).

Clove smoked Lamp Ramp

My companion had the “Char-grilled Pollock (Pickling spices, yellow lentils, bitter melon chutney” (£18) which was incredibly tender and delicate. The fish flaked easily apart, the lentils were slightly sweet and the chutney had a warming spice flavour – A really nice combination.

Char-grilled Pollock

On the side we had “Stir-fried Greens with Cumin and Garlic” (£4.50) which were unremarkable (probably the only “unremarkable” thing in the meal) and “Duck Liver and Heart Tak-a-Tak” (£7.50; named because of the sound that is made cooking it on the streets in India “tak tak”) which were absolutely delicious and perfectly accompanied by pomegranate pips and small diced vegetables.

Sides - Stir-fried Greens with Cumin and Garlic and Duck Liver and Heart Tak-a-Tak

We also ordered two naans from the “Breads” section that were served in a small basket: “Peshwari Naan” (£5.50) - served with the right amount of sweet fillings (so often at other establishments you can barely taste it) and delicious - “Chicken Tikka and Cheese Naan” (£5.50) - on the recommendation of our funny and helpful waiter but I found quite bland.

Naan - Peshwari and Chicken Tikka and Cheese

All of the meal was served on plates that looked straight out of someone's house which, to us, made it feel so welcoming and relaxed despite the high quality food on top. It was this and the incredibly helpful, funny and personable staff that really made us feel so comfortable throughout our meal.

Kitchen

We were talked into having dessert (to be fair, it wasn't that difficult to talk us into it): “Sticky Ginger Toffee Pudding (Garam masala ice cream)” (£7) - Absolutely delicious, light and not overly sweet (bizarrely) with the perfect amount of garam masala in the ice cream (not too overpowering).

Sticky Ginger Toffee Pudding

My companion eventually decided on “Homemade Ice Cream or Sorbet (Selection of the day)” (£6.50) which she found very tasty indeed. It was three balls: One mango (sorbet), one MILK chocolate (ice cream) and the other thandai (ice cream; slightly spicy). Very creamy and delicious.

Homemade Ice Cream or Sorbet (Selection of the Day)

When we saw that chef was in we very early on asked our server if we could meet him and she told us that he would come out to chat to us. It took him some time to work his way through the tables as he stopped to chat to many before he got to us just as we received our main dishes. He chatted with us for a few minutes but when we asked for a picture he said he would come back later after we had eaten. So he was as good as his word arriving after our dessert to have chat with us about the food (reflecting his style and the location), restaurant (reflecting the original surroundings in an arch under the train tracks) and the location (up and coming - shows a lot of promise with the redevelopment of the power station). He was very friendly and interesting to talk to. He did make sure we were on their mailing list though…this new location is much more “local” than the Liverpool Street Cinnamon Kitchen.

Vivek Chat

After our discount the dinner came to £66 for the two of us (including drinks; £114 without discount; service charge extra) which for the amount and quality of food we received was quite reasonable (even at full price). Certainly if we were to return we would not try so many dishes so would likely not be so expensive (at full price). Note that they have a reasonably priced separate lunch menu.

This was one of our most comfortable and pleasant meals in quite some time. We were made to feel at home with amazingly pleasant and welcoming staff who often stopped to chat with us during our visit. The food was incredible - Perfectly prepared and delicately spiced yet also quite unique and interesting (with the very minor exception of the stir fried greens). We will most definitely be back.

Battersea Power Station

Update - August 1, 2018

Having so much enjoyed our previous visit to Cinnamon Kitchen in Battersea we returned on August 1st, 2018 after having received a special offer from “Time Out” for a 6 course tasting menu (£29, each). We were again not at all disappointed and were so happy to be welcomed by the same people again (including maitre'd “Steve”, I believe) who even remembered our previous visit during their soft launch.

This time the chef was not there but we very much enjoyed the food on offer, particularly with the amazing tasting menu we were given.

So brace yourself for some foodie photos…

Amuse Broche

An “amuse broche” from the chef - At the table hot and deliciously crunchy. A surprise but not the last one of the evening…

Appetisers

Famous Kadhi Kachori

“Famous Kadhi Kachori” (lentil dumpling served with curried yoghurt, ginger and tamarind chutney) - I would call these more tarts but were crispy and delicious anyway.

Avocado Hummus

“Avacado Hummus” (toasted seeds, celery shavings) - Mild flavour but very good.

Chowpati Pani Puri

Chowpati Pani Puri (“Crisp Semollina Shells Filled with Sweet Sour Tamarind & Mint Water”) - Most delicious of the appetisers, we poured the sauce into small holes in the shells to savour every delicious mouthful. The sauce was pleasant but not too tart.

Starters

Grilled Pink Aubergine, Sesame, Tamarind and Peanut Crumble

“Grilled Pink Aubergine” (sesame, tamarind and peanut crumble) was a disappointment. I could barely taste the peanuts so quite disappointed (I love peanuts). The aubergine, however, was cooked to perfection.

Creveche of Black Bream with Mango, Nigella and Pomegranate

“Crevech of Black Bream” (with mango, nigella and pomegranate) was ordered by my companion who really enjoyed this small portion with the fish only slightly cooked in the marinade.

Laal Maas

“Laal Maas” (“Rajasthani style fiery lamb curry, pilau rice”) which I was warned was quite hot did not really seem that hot to me. Sure, a bit of an after burn but not really that bad. The curry was absolutely delicious having marinaded overnight. A hearty dish and something more typical of what you might find in, dare I say it, Indian takeaway. Yes, an exceptionally good Indian takeaway.

Kale and Quinoa Kofta

“Kale and Quinoa Kofta” (with date and ginger, tomato lemon sauce) made a surprise appearance on the table, courtesy of the house. This was very much welcomed with deliciously crunchy kofta and a lovely tomato sauce. I think they like us.

Black Lentils

“24-hour simmered black lentils and pilau rice for the table” was quite serviceable if a bit on the thin side for me and also not enough rice (though I love my rice). Not a lot of flavour but very pleasant indeed.

Paneer with Yogurt

Another surprise dish, Lightly baked (?) paneer with a small cabbage salad with yoghurt sauce. Unusual but quite tasty. I am not a huge fan of paneer, mostly because of the texture but also because it is generally tasteless, but here it actually had some welcome flavour.

Sticky Ginger Toffee Pudding, Garam Masala Ice Cream

My choice for dessert was the “Sticky Ginger Toffee Pudding” (with garam masala ice cream) which is what you might expect with the pudding very tasty if slightly dry and a wonderfully slightly spiced ice cream. Very filling and at this point we were getting quite full…

Lassi Panna Cotta, Mango Mint Salad

My companion's choice for desert was the “Lassi Panna Cotta” (with mango mint salad) which was light, fresh and quite tasty.

During the evening we ended up with a fairly big bar bill having arrived early my companion tried several cocktails from the friendly bartender before our meal even arrived. Drinks, like most of the a la carte menu, are not cheap here - though there are a number of set menus for lunch and dinner available that are quite good value.

But, in all cases, we were very pleased with the exceptional quality of the food, drink and staff. As we said before, we will be back.

Rating:

Review Date: 2018-08-01


Cuisine: Indian

Address: 4 Arches Lane, London SW11 8AB ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Sloane Square (free Battersea Power Station shuttle)

Location: London (England) - Battersea

Map:

 

Show in Google Maps  Get Directions

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 3955 5480

URL: http://www.cinnamon-kitchen.com/battersea/