insideKENT Magazine Issue 35 - February 2015 - Page 73

FOOD+DRINK Cinnamon Culture BY CATHY JINKS Recommended by prestigious outlets such as Hardens and the Michelin Guide, Bromley-based fine dining Indian restaurant, Cinnamon Culture, has been making waves since it opened in a former Victorian pub over three years ago. Offering a modern twist on Indian cuisine, owner Manpreet Dhingra, has achieved the perfect blend of innovative cuisine, contemporary décor, and relaxing surroundings. Inside, the good-sized bar and comfortable seating area provides the ideal spot to relax with a delicious cocktail; on this occasion, Ginger Snap – saffron vodka, ginger, lime juice, and orange juice – was my drink of choice. The restaurant itself seats 80 covers, and for those 'warmer months', there is an excellent outside area for keen al fresco diners too. Whilst perusing the menu, my guest and I enjoyed a selection of plain and spiced poppadoms complete with homemade mango chutney, tamarind and raisin sauce, and ginger-garlic pickle. With a choice of 12 starters, 14 mains and eight side dishes including lemon rice, ginger rice, and an assorted mini naan basket, there was certainly a fabulous range to choose from. After much deliberation over the chilli squid, duck tikka, venison vindaloo, and other inventive picks, I opted to start with soft-shell kekada – a soft shell crab in tempura batter, served with a mini crab cake, papaya chutney, and delectable beetroot purée. Meanwhile, my guest went for the head chef’s own creation, chatpati chaat – spiced pastry case filled with a cold 'salad' of sweet potatoes and chickpeas, dressed with tamarind, mint sauces and sweet yogurt, topped with pomegranate seeds. A delicious start to any meal! In the way of mains, my guest's pick was raan mughlai, a Mogul dish of slow-braised lamb shank with spices, finished in the tandoor, and served with curried butternut squash and an exceptional sauce reduction. My choice, Meen Pappas, was National Curry Week's awardwinning Keralite favourite of pan-seared sea bass in a coconut, onion, and tamarind ‘pappas’ sauce, served with curry leaf-infused potato mash; I think my sea bass dish is definitely up there as one of the best curries I've ever had. After reading through the delightful dessert menu, which featured such dishes as mango brûlée, cardamom and walnut brownie, chocolate samosa and more, I plumped for a refreshingly, and utterly delicious coconut sorbet. In addition, the extensive wine list impressed, showcasing a collection of wines from every region in the world. This included a choice of 73 three locally sourced Indian wines; we went for the Sauvignon Blanc Indian White, which proved the perfect accompaniment to our main meal. The team at Cinnamon Culture is passionate and knowledgeable. Head chef, Bhuwan Bhatt, explained that each plate is carefully chosen in order to represent the various signatures dishes that stem from the different regions of