London has a cornucopia of Indian restaurants, from high-end fine dining establishments to archetypal curry houses. However, fine dining restaurants are not always so kind to the wallet and curry houses tend to be quite prosaic. So the recent trend of Indian eateries that are homogenising casual dining with a contemporary approach has been hugely popular and in great demand.
One such restaurant that has been involved in this innovative trend is Cinnamon Bazaar, located in Covent Garden.
The concept behind Cinnamon Bazaar is inspired by the vibrant and bustling markets (bazaars) of India, which is both evident from their small eats street food style menu and the venue’s decor. The 90 cover restaurant is dazzlingly eclectic, with opulently vivid, bright colours, resembling India’s Holi Festival. Also in the main dining area, the ceiling is adorned with hanging laterns, plants and draping red Indian silks to resemble the spice stalls and tents of the bazaars, which instantly provides an exotic ambiance that is truly captivating.
Please note that only the Lamb and Chicken is halal.
Our journey into the Bazaar began from the “Snacks” section where we first ordered “Crisp whitebait. Moily”. These were small deep-fried fish that were delectably crispy and salty, which sat on a layer of coconut milk and Asian spice infused sautéed and caramelised onions that were exquisitely divine. – Highly Recommended
The “Chicken haleem”, with salad and masala sourdough toast arrived in an adorable glass jar. Even though the haleem, which consisted of lentils and chicken, tasted marvellous, it did require more spice to give it a greater depth of flavour. Furthermore, the dish would have fared better if it was prepared warm, instead of cooked as a cold dish. – Worth a Try
The “Crab bonda”, was Calcutta spiced crab and beetroot in chickpea batter. Despite the crab being lightly infused with Asian spices, the taste was still too mild. However, the outstanding mustard and sweet chilli sauce provided that necessary boost to injected life into an otherwise lethargic dish. – Worth a Try
From the “Chaat” segment of the menu, we were recommended the “Dahi bhalla chaat”, which was chilled lentil dumplings with spiced yoghurt and toasted cumin. This was an exceptional dish that setoff a firework of flavours, as it was deliciously sweet, tangy, creamy, crunchy and cool. – Highly Recommended
For mains from the “Bazaar Plates” section, we were first presented with “Lahore style kadhai chicken leg, pickled root vegetables”, which visually looked stunning due to the striking colours. The chicken leg was prepared perfectly, as it was supple and moist, but unfortunately the taste of the chicken itself was not appealing to our palate. However, the pickled vegetables were remarkable. – Worth a Try
The “Rajasthani lamb and corn curry stir-fried greens” was a underrated hit. Visually the dish was unimpressive and at first sampling, the flavours were subdued, so instantly the dish seemed underwhelming. However, the more we delved into the dish, the more enjoyable the flavours became. Furthermore the lamb was prepared impeccably; soft, tender and succulent, and the pak choi was an unusual yet wonderful component to the dish. – Recommended
The “Tandoori Kentish lamb fillet, mint chilli korma, masala cashew nut” was a sensational dish. The delicately spiced korma enraptured our taste buds, with the lamb prepared and seasoned adroitly, and dissolved effortlessly in the mouth. All of the components of the dish married well to deliver a joyous taste sensation. – Highly Recommended
The “Paneer 65: Stir-fried with curry leaf & green chilli” was a pleasant dish. The deep-fried and battered paneer was texturally sublime, with a light citrusy taste. The tangy, creamy sauce provided that much needed burst of flavour. – Recommended
The final dish to be presented to us was the “Lucknow style chicken biryani, burhani raita”. The North Indian spices were aromatically glorious, with generous portions of succulent chicken and superb sweet caramelised onions. The spices were subtle, but the paprika raita was sensational, as it was sweet, smoky, creamy and cool, which also provided a kick of heat that transformed an adequate dish into a satisfying dish. – Recommended
Our experience at Cinnamon Bazaar was extremely memorable, from the captivating decor to the well executed food. There were undoubtedly certain dishes that did not adhere to our palate and could have benefitted from more prodigious use of spices. However, there were a number of dishes that truly enthralled us, from the creativity of the dishes to the enchanting flavours.
So if you are searching for contemporary Indian cuisine, where traditional recipes have been infused with a modern twist, then Cinnamon Bazaar will truly offer a pleasurable and unique dining experience.
*Disclaimer: We were invited to review the restaurant.