5 Kingly Street, London W1B 5PF
While the Cinnamon Soho (and its sister restaurants Cinnamon Kitchen and the acclaimed Cinnamon Club) are not vegetarian, founding chef Vivek Singh is a supporter of meat reduction and his team contacted the JVS offering some of their unique recipes in celebration of National Vegetarian Week.
The Cinnamon restaurants’ ethos is to “revolutionise the way Indian cooking is viewed in the UK and to continue to push the boundaries even further”.
Certainly Cinnamon Soho is not what you would call a traditional Indian restaurant. With green 1960s low hanging lamps, minimal décor, modern wooden furniture and jazzy music playing, the place has a laid back contemporary feel. There’s a sign about cocktails outside and the restaurant looks like it attracts a hip, professional, city crowd.
To start, I had a quinoa salad which had mild Indian spicing and felt fresh and healthy, and my friend opted for crisp Portobello mushrooms served with a peppery salsa and authentic green chutney. Both of us were impressed and only wished there could have been a little more.
While only 2 out of the 10 mains listed were vegetarian and none were vegan, the staff were more than happy to create something for me, so I ended up with a delicious vegan dish of stir-fried baby aubergine served with a spicy tomato sauce. I’ve never been much of an aubergine fan but it had a great combination of flavours and I’d definitely have it again. We shared a tasty side of stir-fried okra with mango, and my friend had spinach dumplings and some 24 hour-cooked black lentils (the latter turned out to be unnecessary as the dumplings came with a tomato fenugreek sauce). While it is not the most inexpensive Indian cuisine, (starters range from £3-£6.75 and mains £11-£17), the food is of high quality, presented beautifully and very enjoyable.
The Cinnamon Soho offers excellent service and a relaxed dining experience. While the options are limited for vegetarians (and more so for vegans), what meat-free food the restaurant does offer looks and tastes absolutely delicious.
Review by Suzanne Barnard