Review of 'Cinnamon Bazaar'

I am a huge fan of Vivek Singh's cooking having visited his various restaurants including Cinnamon Kitchen in the financial centre of London and his smaller, more intimate Cinnamon Kitchen Battersea (that we visited twice, with one visit being able to chat with the chef himself). His food is vibrant and absolutely delicious, capturing the vitality of the food of India but with his own unique twist that brings it bang up to date.

On the mailing list I was informed of an offer at the “Cinnamon Bazaar” of their “Bib-Gourmand”, 9 course (yes, you read that right, 9 courses) menu for £25 which is an absolutely amazing price, no matter how you look at it and in this case delivering some truly exceptional food. Despite the recent Coronavirus situation we booked our table for a Saturday night to give it a try and we are very much glad we did…though not without a bit of discomfort, but not to do with the food.

Main Floor Dining Area

There are two floors in “Cinnamon Bazaar” and, at least for now, there is also seating outside the entrance on the pavement. When we visited the restaurant was very busy so reservations are definitely recommended. On the ground floor there is a bar area on the right and the dining area at the back with a high ceiling topped with a skylight letting in natural light and decorated with draped fabric harkening back to the markets of India. We were seated here in a corner at a small table for two, able to take the space in.

Bar Area

The order of the day here are small, shared dishes with the main menu, found on a double-sided menu, split into “Snacks & Chaats” (£3 to £7.50), “Bazaar Plates” (£8 to £22.50 for the tandoori king prawn), “Sides” (£3 for rice to £6.75 for stir-fried greens), “Puddings” (£2 for a scoop of ice cream to £7 for poached pear) and “Cocktails” (around the £12 mark), flipping it over there are an assortment of drinks (including, thankfully for me, “Alcohol Free Cocktails”). With the wonderful dishes on offer I can see there might be a temptation to order a lot of different dishes which could quickly added up to a huge bill which is why were grateful to be able to try a bit of many dishes for a reasonable price. To drink, I had the “Bazaar’s Virgin Mary” (£6.75) which I have to say was absolutely tremendous with not only the spicy heat you might expect but also a wonderfully Indian mixture of spices that makes this probably the best Virgin Mary I have ever had.

Starters - Chilies, Watermellon Chaat and Chickpea Chaat

Soon enough the first of our courses arrived: “Kadhai Spiced ‘Bullet’ Chilies with poppy seed gun powder”, “Watermelon Chaat: Pressed watermelon, amaranth seeds, date chutney, masala cashew”, and “Colocasia & Fenugreek Tikki Chaat with a medley of chutney and checkpea sev”. What an amazing start, the “Chilies” were, let's face it, Padron peppers like you might see in Spanish restaurants but served with Indian spicing struggled to get through but added a nice background note. The watermelon, to me, was the start of the show here served at room temperature, perfectly ripe and sweet but with an incredible mixture of spices and sauces that turned it into something tremendously more-ish, a savoury-sweet treat. The chaat was a delightful mixture of small pieces of vegetables and chickpea that danced on the palate. A tremendous start.

Starters - Chicken and Prawns

Next up was “Tandoori chicken Breast Soola, Rajasthani Spices” and “Pepper Fry: Curry leaf and cracked black pepper fried shrimp”. The chicken was perfectly cooked, not at all dry but moist and full of flavour with a light yoghurt dipping sauce and a small salad. The shrimps were full of flavour, plump and juicy though the star here was the pepper sauce that really brought the dish to life. No huge spicy heat here but just delicious.

Mains - Lamp Biriyani, Kingfish Curry and Black Daal

The mains arrived and completely crowded our table: “Hyderabadi style Lamb Biriyani, Bhurani raita”, “Malabar boatman’s Kingfish curry, steamed rice” and “House Black Dal”, though we also had a bowl of plain rice that was not on the menu (nor separately billed) but included on the side. We were immediately overwhelmed at the size of the dishes after having already worked our way through five smaller courses. The Biriyani, in particular, was quite a large size for the two of us…but, oh my goodness, was it absolutely delicious. The lamb was perfectly cooked, juicy and full of flavour cooked with it's rice that was also full of flavour. The kingfish curry was a bit “fishy” to me (that is, it had the typical “fish” flavour coming through) but still was delicate and delicious. The daal, was fairly typical and quite bland but was good alongside the other powerful flavours on the table. The large portion of fresh, clean raita (topped with a few pomegranate pips) was absolutely delicious, adding a wonderful tangy note to the spices of the other dishes.


After all of this we barely had room for dessert but it came anyway: “Ginger Toffee pudding, banana ice cream”. The pudding was perfectly cooked though did not have enough toffee sauce so did not completely penetrate. The banana ice cream was deliciously creamy and complemented the steamed pudding very well, a subtle, adult ice cream.

Throughout the meal the service was friendly, delivering dishes with a great sense of price and taking the empty dishes away with a minimum of fuss. The staff smiled, as much as we could tell behind their surgical masks, at all times. But, it is here I have to add a note of our un-comfort during our visit. The COVID situation is still progressing and we are quite sensitive to large crowded spaces and this was one such place. During our visit on a busy Saturday night our table was less than 1 meter away from the next table (contradicting government guidelines) with no physical barriers present for our table (there were some plexiglass shields for the booths along the far wall, but not for the tables in the main seating area). I should add that they did have hand sanitizer at the door, which was good to see. However, in general, the situation with the crowded space made us feel a bit uncomfortable so we were happy to leave despite the tremendous meal.

Setting aside the uncomfortably crowded interior, “Cinnamon Bazaar” has a highly original menu featuring small, shared dishes and deliver hugely on flavour. With our ““Bib-Gourmand” set menu at £25 we spent just over £61 including a cocktail and a beer, which is a tremendous value. As a change for the area, a service charge was not automatically added to the bill so we were able to add it ourselves when paying (12.5% is added to bookings of more than 8). We look forward, at least when the COVID situation improves, to returning to try some more of their menu.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2020-09-12

Cuisine: Indian

Address: 28 Maiden Ln, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7JS ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Covent Garden TUBE Charing Cross

Location: London (England) - Covent Garden



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Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7395 1400