All of this hideous English weather has had me longing for some delicious and warming comfort food, and you can’t get much warmer than an Indian! (Although I always tend to stay towards the milder end of the spectrum as I’m a complete wimp that can’t handle spicy food whatsoever). The rain definitely worked in our favour on the evening that we attended Cinnamon Bazaar in Covent Garden as we were supposed to go to another nearby restaurant but were told last minute that the kitchen had flooded, luckily Love Pop Ups London was able to organise for us to visit this spectacular restaurant instead, and they were so accommodating that it disaster was averted and we were able to enjoy an amazing evening with some beautiful food.
We were welcomed in through the fantastically beautiful painted double doors which just exaggerate the pretty athestics of the restaurants, with perfectly painted patterns, Aladdin-esque decor and hot pink drapes spanning the entirety of the ceiling. The detailing in the bar area was also lovely and tied the overall look together completely to emphasise the story behind the restaurant: ‘In India and across the world, the bazaar is the place to buy, sell, exchange, entertain and be entertained. For centuries the vibrant energy of these marketplaces has inspired us to explore new flavours and new possibilities and Cinnamon Bazaar aims to capture this and bring it to London.’
We took to our seats and each ordered a cocktail to begin with, I went for the Falooda Swizzle – mainly because I liked the name… This consisted of White rum, basil seed, creme d’abricot, lime, amaranth cress. I absolutely loved it. Although as I continued to drink it, it started to taste slightly more soily but this could’ve just been the amaranth cress shining through as I’ve just googled it and it apparently has beetroot-like characteristics. It was fruity and refreshing none-the-less and so I was happy! I loved the look of Jo’s which was the Last Song and from what I remember it contained Gin and Rhubarb. So next time I hit up Cinnamcon Bazaar, I’ll be trying this one for sure.
There was a huge selection of starters, snacks and Chaats and I really wasn’t sure where to start. I was extremely hungry and it had been a miserable day (anyone else always get a craving for melted cheese when it’s cold outside?) and so I opted for the Chicken & Cheese Filled Naan with Coriander chutney which was exactly what I was looking for. It was very tasty although in my opinion was scrimping a little on the cheese and chicken – definitely could’ve done with a little (or a lot more) even if this meant the price went up. Everyone else’s starters also looked great. I did manage to steal a mouthful or two from some and I couldn’t complain!
I was also surprised about the fact that none were too spicy as I think this is something I always worry about with Indian food. Tash had the Hot Chaat selection which looked amazing, although quite hefty so this could possibly be shared between two people – depending on how hungry you are. Katie had the Soft Shell Crab Chaat with Curried yoghurt, apple and celeriac pickle which looked phenomenal although I was told it had a slightly aniseed taste to it and so I doubt this would’ve been my cup of tea. Other starters included the pork belly which looked phenomenal and was a close second choice for me and the Crab Bonda (Calcutta spiced crab and beetroot in chickpea batter)
Once we’d wolfed all of the glorious starters down in record time it was the main event. On the table there were 2 mixed grills which looked exciting and were made up of Chicken breast tikka, lamb galauti, shrimps and cauliflower, served with black lentils. I tried some of the cauliflower which was very nice but the people that ordered this weren’t too impressed with the lamb galauti as it was an odd texture and lacked a little bit of the flavour but they did rave about the lentils and the shrimps! There were also two of the Char-grilled Kentish Lamb Fillet in a mint chilli korma with masala cashew nuts, which I was told was also extremely delicious.
I, however went for the Lamb Roganjosh Shepherd’s Pie after much deliberation as it was apparently voted in Time Out as one of The 100 Best Dishes in London – I certainly wasn’t disappointed. True British comfort food with an exciting Indian twist. Rather than mince it used really tender and flavoursome lamb which was then topped with sweet potato mash, I’d definitely eat this all over again, especially during winter. It was rather filling and so in future I may go with someone and share two main courses (that way I get to try more of the menu, sneaky.)
Before we knew it, our evening was swiftly drawing to a close and we had to make a decision on our puddings. Tash seemed to know a lot about the words on the menu that meant nothing to me so I took her advice and went for the bhapa doi cheesecake which did not disappoint and I managed to finish it all even though I was filled to the brim! I would definitely recommend this as it’s not too heavy, as well as being sweet and a great texture and worked really well with the berries that surrounded it as well as the biscuity base that it was sat upon. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Annoyingly I didn’t manage to get a picture of this as I ate it too fast but I did manage to get one of Jo’s Carrot and Ginger Toffee Pudding.
Overall I had a really good visit to Cinnamon Bazaar and would definitely head back to try the things on the menu that I didn’t get round to trying. Thank you so much to the staff for being so attentive and for squeezing us in at the very last minute for our gifted meal. Thanks also to Love Pop Ups London for organising!