The restaurant: Cinnamon Bazaar, 28 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7JS
Cinnamon Bazaar blends flavours of the Old World with a modern Indian style of cooking and dining, drawing inspiration from various markets along major routes in India. The dinner menu shows a fusion of East and West with lamb rogan josh shepherd’s pie and ox cheek vindaloo with masala mash. Arriving for brunch, I expected eggs and alcohol. Both were present in the form of Bombay style scrambled eggs, egg and spiced lamb flatbread, and a customary glass of prosecco.
Weaving our way through a rainy, yet incessantly busy Covent Garden, we made a beeline for the bright green door of Cinnamon Bazaar. It’s the third opening from celebrity Indian British chef Vivek Singh, who you may have already encountered on TV, through his cookbooks or his four other similarly named Cinnamon restaurants. While the renowned Cinnamon Club, located in the old library, has a grand gentleman’s club feel about it, and Cinnamon Kitchen branches goes in for a typical, edgy industrial look, Cinnamon Bazaar has a vibrancy of its own.
Based on the Indian bazaars of old and modern day, its interiors comprise of green and pink silk awnings hanging about the ceiling amongst plants and lamps, and natural light with a coloured hue seeps through. The finer details of the tiny hand-painted animals on the front door, gold stencils on the walls and cushioned booths add to the welcoming warmth of the place. It was already fairly busy when I arrived with my mother for Saturday brunch.
Chaat, a dish typically served at stalls or carts, has its own section on the menu, and apparently its own cart in the restaurant. Jodhupuri kachori, a spiced onion dumpling chaat, was warming and coated with a brilliantly spicy green tamarind sauce, and cooled with yoghurt and sweet pomegranate seeds. Juicy koliwada shrimps with a trickle of sticky hoisin sauce were a fried treat, while curried shrimp in a filo pastry base had a softer, nonetheless satisfying spicey flavour.
Butter chicken was a thick creamy tomato curry with two large chicken legs. While it erred on the side of indulgent, it wasn’t so rich that we couldn’t devour the whole thing and mop up the sauce with hunks of garlicky naan bread. Malabar Boatman’s curry was a more mildly spiced tomato-based dish with generous chunks of haddock. Our black dahl was overly mushy with spiced flavours muted lost amongst the tomato.
With a taste for carrot after my dessert at Salaam Namaste, the carrot and ginger toffee pudding was a fantastic sweetener to round off a marvellous brunch. Cinnamon Kitchen is a Covent Garden gem that, for an afternoon, will make you less miserable about the London weather and warmed by the smells, flavours and colours of an Indian bazaar.
Cinnamon Bazaar’s Grand Weekend Brunch is priced at £27.50pp for 3 courses or £32.50pp for 3 courses & a Mr Lyan cocktail. Throughout January, Cinnamon Bazaar will be treating guests with a complimentary glass of champagne on them when tucking into the Grand Weekend Brunch (one glass of champagne per brunch guest, valid until 31 January, direct bookings only).
To book visit Cinnamon-Bazaar.com or call 020 7395 1400