Cinnamon Bazaar is an Indian restaurant based on Maiden Lane in Covent Garden, London. The restaurant is part of the Cinnamon Kitchen group headed by chef Vivek Singh. So when I was invited to attend with a group from Love Pop Ups London, I was delighted to try it out. Here is my review of Cinnamon Bazaar:
*My meal at Cinnamon Bazaar was free in return for this honest review, all opinions remain my own*
Cinnamon Bazaar restaurant review
Cinnamon Bazaar is centrally located in Covent Garden, London. Easy access from the main area of Covent Garden, it’s also super central for the West End and Theatreland.
Walking through the green doors you enter via the bar area and a riot of colour welcomes you.
Green wood work is offset with swathes of pink fabric across the ceiling. Plants give a feel for the tropical outdoors. The details in the small stenciled clouds add an almost Disney effect.
There are banquet tables at each side of the room and smaller tables in the middle that they push together for larger groups like ours.
As I was the first person to arrive, I got some time to examine the drinks menu and order a cocktail to start. The cocktails include original signature cocktails created in collaboration with Mr Lyan, as well as classics and those created by the Cinnamon Bazaar team.
When I saw the black cardamom infused Bombay gin, with mint and green mango, I knew I had to order the Gin Julep.
The Bazaar Old Fashioned with coconut washed bourbon was also tempting. Someone else ordered that one, so I didn’t have to cheat on gin.
The Persian Jewel was a very pretty cocktail too. With Champagne, Chambord, pomegranate juice and decorated with a violet flower, it looked too good to drink.
A couple of us also had a glass of wine or beer with our main courses. The beer and wine menu had the same standard options you’d expect. I didn’t dig into that as much as I had the cocktails though.
Starters or small plates
The menu is divided into Snacks, Chaats, Bazaar Plates and Sides. In the Bazaar Plates the dishes came in various sizes – some ideal for sharing and some designed as small plates (an excuse to eat several!).
After much deliberation and some guidance from our lovely waitress, I settled on getting the soft shell crab chaat to start.
The crab was amazing – lightly battered and perfectly crunchy (as you’d expect from eating the whole thing, shell and all!). It was complemented by the curried yoghurt and the pickle and I loved the pomegrante seeds scatted over the top. The whole dish was a great light starter, I might have won with this course with best dish!
The hot chaat selection also looked fab and as it was a large dish, with samosa & aloo tikki & kachori, I got to try some too. I love the tang of the tamarind chutney drizzled on the top of the broken up chaat.
Our table also ordered the Chicken & Cheese naan, Beth was into her comfort food that evening, and the Crab Bonda. The crab was combined with beetroot and a chickpea batter and deep fried. Both of these items were from the Snack section of the menu. From the smaller Bazaar plates we ordered the ‘Koorg’ style double-cooked pork belly.
Main or large dishes
We ended up over ordering in typical British fashion! Our lovely waitress recommended taking some of their naan breads, so we tried their regular, garlic and peshwari naan, in addition to our main courses, which were full dishes.
I decided to go full guns with the Bazaar Mixed Grill. This includes chicken tikka, lamb galauti, shrimps and cauliflower and is served with black lentils and a side salad.
It was only when it arrived I realised *quite* what I had gotten myself into!
Bazaar Mixed Grill
The chicken tikka was perfectly cooked – not dry at all as you sometimes get with grilled chicken breast. The grilled prawns were great, however the real surprise was how tasty the cauliflower was. I loved eating with with the coriander chutney that was drizzled over the dish. However the lamb was a bit of a let down.
Now I have to admit that lamb is not my favourite meat, but I do generally like it when spiced. The lamb galauti is a spiced lamb patty that was then grilled, so flavour wise it was tasty. But it was the texture that I wasn’t sure about… It was very finely ground, so much so, it was more like pureed, it was smooth and had very little texture beyond the seared outside. For me this wasn’t amazing, but I was happy to leave it. One of the others agreed that the texture wasn’t how she would expect (and she’s Indian, so I’d trust her opinion more).
Other mains we had included the famous lamb roganjosh shepherds pie – voted as one of Time Out’s 100 Best Dishes in London. A tasty take on the classic British comfort food – Beth enjoyed this.
The char-grilled lamb fillet also went down well. This was effectively a korma and came served with rice, so no sides were required.
Desserts – if you have room!
They have a short but sweet dessert menu with 5 options, plus seasonal fruit sorbet or house ice cream.
The Bhapa Doi cheesecake was deconstructed in style and looked good. You have the option to add a chocolate Rossogulla, which is a traditional Indian dessert coated in chocolate.
This was more on the Anglo-Indian fusion side of the desserts! I don’t know how Jo managed what is usually a fairly heavy dessert after all the other food!
I ordered the Chocolate Rossogulla despite being full, because the others were intrigued on what these are. I wasn’t overally impressed with the texture I *think* I’ve had similar Indian desserts where they were soaked in syrup and the texture is a lot different when served that way. The chocolate coating left the Rossogulla quite dry.
I did however manage to eat the spiced passion fruit sorbet that was served with them. The sorbet or the Kulfi are the ideal way to end a heavy meal and cleanse your palate after lots of spices.
Whether you are popping in for a pre-theatre meal, or just having an evening with friends, Cinnamon Bazaar has you covered. The staff really looked after our group well – we were well topped up with still and sparkling water – as well as being well fed!
I enjoyed all of the food I tried and the stand out dishes for me were the soft shell crab and the mixed hot chaat, the roganjosh shepherd’s pie and the mixed grill. All the dishes I tried were well flavoured and well spiced (ask if you don’t like heat & they can guide you to suitable dishes). It’s also worth asking your server about the size of the dishes before you order, as the menu doesn’t really make this clear. Luckily our waitress was happy to explain it all to us and reconfirm when needed. I was also impressed with their attention to detail on the allergen side of things – again inform your server if you suffer from food allergies.
On the way out we did let the manager know about the lamb galauti not being as per expectations and he was feeding it back to the chef, so hopefully this is improved. (But as I mentioned, I’m not an authority on this!). One area where I do have experience was the cocktails, and these were all amazing. The collaboration cocktails really are special and even the house cocktails were great. So I’d definitely recommend having one pre-dinner as a aperitivo.
Cinnamon Bazaar is perfectly located for Covent Garden and Theatreland. There is a tasting menu if you can’t decide what to try and a pre-theatre menu for those on a tight schedule or budget. Cinnamon Bazaar also does brunch, lunch and afternoon tea.
Cinnamon Bazaar location
Cinnamon Bazaar is located at 28 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, a short walk from Covent Garden, Leicester Square or Charing Cross London Underground stations: