|Indian Cinnamon Spices Up Devonshire Road|
New kid on the block impresses our foodie reviewer
Ah, Devonshire Road, the boutique road of Chiswick. It's funny, for a road that has such fantastic specialist shops and is home to Michelin starred La Trompette, business on the road is slow. My theory was always that it was too tucked away - after all, many still don't know where it is - and this has meant that various shops and restaurants have disappeared from the street. It's a fate that'll befall many if things keep on the way they are, which will be a real shame because Devonshire is, in my eyes, the jewel of Chiswick. But then sometimes these shops and restaurants give way to bigger and better things, and this is the case of the newest restaurant at the end of the road, Indian Cinnamon, a superb neighbourhood Indian restaurant.
It seems to be a trend for Indian restaurants in London to be named after that ubiquitous spice, cinnamon. Open for just under a month, Indian Cinnamon's front is tasteful and unassuming, large windows let the light in and the decor features white walls, a flower motif on one and a string of purple and gold lights, and wooden furniture. The two waiters on-hand look slick and sophisticated in shirts of royal purple. It's classy and simple, fitting right in to the style of the road.
Indian food isn't my forte, I don't do so well with too spicy things, but my best friend Jun can't get enough of it. I watch her as she pours hot sauce all over her plate eats tiny chillies whole and never even breaks a sweat - of course she had to be my companion for the meal, I could think of no-one better.
We started with poppadoms and chutneys, which included one I've never tasted before - powdered spiced coconut. What the coconut was spiced with I'm not sure (and my waiter didn't know either), but delicious it was. The poppadoms were crunchy and, unlike other restaurants, not at all greasy. The regular chef was unfortunately not in house that evening and so instead the manager, Gulam Tahir, who usually spends his time at front of house, caring for customers and managing his staff, was in the kitchen. Presentation was beautiful with crisp white plates, herb garnishes that were sprinkled delicately over the food and not the plate (my pet peeve at restaurants - tiny bits of chopped herbs all over my dishes), all arranged prettily.
Jun had gone for a spicy lamb madras and pilau rice, and I for a lamb biryani which came with a rich and mild potato sauce on the side. Being greedy as we are, we ordered sides of onion bhaji, naan bread, brinjal bhaji (spiced aubergine) and saag paneer (spinach with paneer cheese), all of which were delicious. The rice was a little on the dry side but packed a punch and the lamb was tender and fragrant. For dessert we shared a mango kulfi, a milk-based frozen treat similar to ice-cream. "With Indian food," Tahir told us, "we don't really have desserts but what we do have is kulfi which is cooling and sweet, it's just the perfect way to finish off a meal." It was perfect - a hint of fresh mango and a gentle syrupy sweetness at the centre was just what I needed.
The prices were very decent; my only criticism of Indian Cinnamon is that service was a little on the slow side, even with two waiters on standby, but considering we were the first customers to arrive and, for much of our meal, the only customers, I don't blame them too much. These are teething problems which will be worked out as time goes on.
Indian food in this country is done often and often done badly, but Indian Cinnamon seems to have hit the right note and is a good, solid neighbourhood restaurant, bound to pull in customers which is exactly what the road needs. Serving hearty yet delicate food which is presented beautifully, this is one restaurant I'd encourage you to visit quickly before booking a table becomes impossible.