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Today’s piece is brought to you by my very good friend and one of my favourite people to eat out in London with, Becca. You may have spotted her in some of my Ibiza photos, but today she’s talking about one of our other favourite topics: food!
London is a city of fine cuisine and luxurious restaurants, however these often come with price tags that alienate the average Londoner. That’s why Bookatable’s London Restaurant Festival is so great.
Covering a selection of the capitals best – from legendary chains like STK, rooftop dining at the Aqua Shard and exotic flavours from Asia de Cuba and The Cinnamon Club – there is something to suit even the most particular palate. Running until October 31st, each participating restaurant has put together set menus with deals, often 3 courses including cocktails or bubbles ranging from £10 to £60 per person.
You can search by location, cuisine and price, so that afternoon tea you’ve been dying to try no longer needs to be reserved for a special occasion. Why not sample some Michelin star food for a celebratory night out or even if you have a date you’d like to impress?
The Cinnamon Club
I visited The Cinnamon Club, an Indian restaurant nestled in a quiet street in Westminster. A historic Grade II listed building (formerly Westminster Library), The Cinnamon Club’s décor has a glamorous feel as antique bookshelves are juxtaposed with modern lighting. It’s hailed as the “original modern Indian restaurant in London.”
Although I am usually more Brick Lane than ‘fine dining’ I cannot resist a curry. Despite the towering ceilings and the immaculately dressed staff, the ambience was quiet but friendly. We attended on a Monday evening at 6pm, meaning that most guests were a mixture of well-dressed business people and couples on dates. I was informed there was no dress code but perhaps due to its proximity to parliament, I was glad I had erred on the smart side.
The Bookatable deal
The set menu included a starter, main, dessert and Bellini, for a reasonable £38 each. My friend and I chose to dig into the clove smoked lamb escalope and sandalwood flavoured tandoori chicken breast to start. The meat melted in your mouth and the flavours were complex and delicious. A vegetarian option was available as the tempting ‘bombay style vegetables with cumin brioche’.
The main course continued with similar themes, and I especially enjoyed the garlic naan crumble that arrived with my curry.
The dessert was my only disappointment as I chose the ‘melon sorbet soup with basil’ which came as an edible but not exhilarating watery concoction. However, my friend’s passion fruit tart with berry sorbet and poppy seed meringue was a creamy and light end to the meal.
The portions were generous compared to other fine dining experiences, but not too heavy, so three courses did not feel like a chore. The food offers a colourful mix of spices with a modern twist, with the kind of strategic presentation you won’t see at your local curry house.
The restaurant has an air of extravagance, as the hallways feature paintings and water features (which I enjoyed Instagramming after my meal). The service was polite and attentive, and we did not feel we were treated any differently to customers not using this menu. The only thing I could fault was that we were charged for a bottle of water we did not order, but that seems a small complaint for a lovely evening.
If you’d like to book an evening at The Cinnamon Club, head over to Bookatable. In celebration of the London Restaurant Festival 10th year, you could also win a culinary trip to Thailand!