As part of a bet between 2 friends more than a decade ago, Chef and owner Vivek Singh and partner, created a new concept in elegant indian ‘haute’ cuisine moving into the historical Westminister Library. A decade on and it still shines.
Sporting 2 bars – one a more sedate reading room and another downstairs called the club bar serving ‘happy hours’, it is the main room in which the restaurant is housed surrounded by imposing character filled oak paneled balcony gallery right around this large restaurant, that is striking.
But it is the food that is even more striking……wonderful flavours thrown together in what seems like a ‘flavour spa’ – reflecting subtle flavours of fennugreek, cumin, tamarind, mustard seeds, masala, curry leaf etc worked on the usual seafood and meat dishes. But there are also some more exotic meats like partridge and red deer on the menu.
If you are looking for the regular beef vindaloo or ‘curry palace’ offerings, this restaurant is not for you. This is Indian food in all its elegance, reframing in many ways how we see Indian food.
Service in the restaurant is brisk, a team complete with the handsome maitre d’ and a sommelier. Pity that the quality of service does not appear to extend to the library bar where service is not as polished.
A broader word about london’s Indian cuisine scene of late which continues to offer so much to the discerning foodie. For ‘haute’ Indian there is Amaya, Benares, Chutney Mary, Quilon, and Verraswamy among many others, making dining Indian a very tough choice. Cinnamon Club as a pioneer still shines!
The Old Westminster Library,
30-32 Great Smith Street,
London SW1P 3BU