Ramadan is a time for appreciating what you have, the food, the family, the countless blessings that He bestows upon us on a daily basis.. those blessings that we don’t even realise are blessings. Precisely about 15 minutes before Iftar is when you are most hungry, and it makes you think of the things you are really grateful for – on this particular day, my blessing was my foodie friend. Time is super precious these days, and those people that I chose to spend time with and vice versa are the most special. I had this philosophical thought as I was almost an hour late to meet a foodie friend of mine and was hoping I could deliver this spiel to her to appease that fact that I was late for the first time in my entire life!
It was almost iftar time by the time I eventually got there, and she said we were going to a library. As much as I love a library, with 15 mins left for iftar after 19 hours of fasting I was in no mood for going to a library… who goes to a library at this time I complained. She ignored me and led me through the random streets of Westminster away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist attractions.
We eventually got to the “library” it wasn’t a library at all.. we were at The Cinnamon Club, a fine dining Indian restaurant by St James’ Park. We were let do our table – I loved the ambiance, even though every person in there was suited and booted whilst my ripped jeans made me feel a little out of place for the first time. We were literally in an old library converted to a restaurant – what a genius idea!
We had not requested halal meat in our booking in advance so could only have specific things on the menu. All the things we ordered were the only halal dishes on the menu that you would be able to order despite asking for halal meat. PLease be sure to ask your waiter what there are.
So we went on to order our starters – Gallouti Kebabs, Fenugreek Scented Tandoori Cod and Pressed Watermelon Chaat with Dhokla Crumble.
I usually don’t like kebabs but boy did these hit the spot! Straight after iftar, these were probably one of the most succulent kebabs I have tasted, although we were informed that the lamb escalope that it came with was not halal but these kebabs were, which I found a little strange – better to order halal meat 72 hours before to avoid disappointment.
This cod was really interested, beautifully cooked but the flavours were a little strange. The cod itself was great, succulent, tasty and just melted in your mouth, whereas the sauce that came with it was a little strong in flavour and didn’t really compliment the cod as such (in my humble opinion at least)
Even after a 19 hour fast, I wasn’t a fan of this and this was definitely not what I was expecting. The base was made of watermelon which I was a huge fan of, but the rest of it was a little bland and didn’t really taste of much.
Ready for the next course, mains were next, we went for Roast Saddle rack of lamb and Banana Chilli filled with fenugreek, raisin and bitter gourd (aka karela for all you South Asians out there)I chose to have my lamb medium well done, and it was a beautiful dish, probably one of my favourites on the menu. The meat was succulent and very flavoursome. The corn sauce and casher nuts were great condiments to the lamb and made the meal that much more enjoyable. I am really not a fan of kerela or bitter gourd as its more widely known to the rest of the world. When I saw I’m not a fan of it, what I actually mean is that I’d rather chew chalk than eat them. However, the things I do for you all, I decided to at least try it so I could report back to base.. I tried it and this dish was actually very tasty. The pillau was a little dry but overall the dish was quite different and tasty.
And that took us onto my favourite course all day everyday.. dessert! My friend went for Green Cardamom Brûlée and I went for the Dark Chocolate Bomb with White Chocolate IceI love a creme brûlée and if you follow me on Instagram (@thelondonhaloodie) you’ll know how much I love anything green. The mix of creme brûlée and cardamom was so interesting, I loved the asian touch they had put to an essentially western dessert.
Thanks to the amazing world of Instagram, every time I think of a chocolate bomb you think of.. well you all know what I’m talking about! Unfortunately, this chocolate bomb wasn’t one of “those” chocolate bombs. It was just presented to us for us to dig into ourselves. So after I’d taken photos to my heart’s content, I began digging into the chocolate bomb. It was really hard, but perseverance gets you success in life and it wasn’t any different with this chocolate bomb. Once I got in there, it was delish. I am a big fan of dark chocolate but this was beyond good, the popcorn
Overall, I felt the restaurant had a lot to offer, I absolutely loved the library setting, the food was not amazing but was good. I would be mindful that there are not too many halal dishes, but you need to make sure that you order halal meat 72 hours before your booking, if you don;t there are only 2-3 dishes that are usually halal so you won’t make the most of the menu.
Food – 6 out of 10
Service – 6 out of 10
Price – 6 out of 10
Atmosphere – 5 out of 10
Experience – 6 out of 10
Overall, giving The Cinnamon Club a total TLH score of 6 out of 10.
Address: The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BU
Halal Status: Certain lamb dishes are always halal, but be sure to specify halal meat when making a booking at least 48 hours before
Closest Station: Westminster station (Jubilee line) or St James Park (Circle or District line)