30-32 Great Smith Street
The Old Westminster Library,
Winter still had its grip on London when we stepped into The Cinnamon Club. How lovely then, to be greeted with a warm welcome in the shape of smiling staff and two elegant cinnamon bellinis. Cinnamon and sparkling wine wouldn't be the first two ingredients I'd have thought would work together, but they teamed up brilliantly to deliver a warming effect, which went some way to thawing us out.
We were there, ironically to sample the restaurant's Holi festival menu – a festival which is thrown to announce the passing of winter and the arrival of spring. It certainly wasn't feeling like spring outside, but this tasting menu lifted our palates into a more colourful sphere. For £45 the Holi menu offered up 7 different courses, all of which played their part in putting the colour back into our cheeks.
Our pre-starter of potato and mint fritta came with a beautifully spiced shot of lentil soup, and looked just as stylishly presented as our surroundings. Housed in what was formerly Westminster Library, the restaurant nods at its literary past with endless leather-bound books flanking one side of the main dining room. As you might expect with its SW1 location, the white table linen and spotless wine glasses are ruffled and chinked by a well-heeled and largely suited clientele. On the Monday night we visited, the restaurant was buzzing with chatter and the waiting staff were dashing about with flawless efficiency.
Highlights from our Holi menu included ravioli of wild mushroom with truffle sauce, a quite wonderfully palate-cleansing pomegranate and mint sorbet, and an unbelievably flavoursome roast rack of Cumbrian mutton. The mutton came served with a mint and onion sauce, and tasted so earthy and bursting with flavour that we couldn't stop informing each waitress how gorgeous each mouthful was.
Dessert arrived on a lengthy plate, sporting a milk chocolate 'dhokla' with rasmalai kulfi. The dhokla (a little mouthful of chocolate cake, in the shape of a macaroon) was delectable, whilst the kulfi offered up a nutty, milky finish. A delicious plate of petit fours arrived with our coffee and rounded off a brilliant meal, which at £45, was most definitely a steal, whatever the season.
**The Cinnamon Club:** The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BU. Tel: 020 7222 2555. For more information, visit: http://www.cinnamonclub.com.
**Reviewed by:** Helenka Bednar