Monday, 13 February 2012

Join The Club

January was a slow month for me. Sans money and spirit, I was forced to eat at home - which had its blessings and its curses. The obvious curse was no restaurant-based stories to share, but it was also the month that me, my boyfriend and the blender made our own butter, bread and udon noodles (blessing).

Got a bit fat eating double portions of baked beans on the sofa (curse).

Watched a lot of Fabulous Baker Boys (curse/blessing)

Ironic then, in the month in which I always say I'll detox but became too depressed to do anything but put high quantaties of carbs in my gob, my only restaurant experience was a healthy one...

The Cinnamon Club is that posh sounding curry house in Westminster (who doesn't love a fancy curry) to which I had never been until I was invited to try out their Detox Menu which the ran the month of Jan. I think these menus are good. They are less smug than all-year-round healthy restaurants and they cleverly exploit the silliness of the post-Christmas-gahhhhh-i've-piled-on-the-pounds-panic.

The CC is housed in the Old Westminster Library. Despite the imposing space being impressively full, it did not buzz. Perhaps people were whispering less they be told off by the librarian...

Too the menu...

Some amuse bouche, a light curry puff of a thing. Lovely.

Tandoori chicken breast with garlic and coriander, sprouted fenugreek salad.

This was lovely, the lightly spiced chicken marinaded into moist submission with not a hint of fat.

Marinated vegetables with blood orange and sunflower seeds 

The second starter was better than it's title promised it to be, crunchy, fresh, full of contrasting textures and again, showing skill with a delicate marriage of flavours.

Kadhai style stir fry of winter vegetables with multigrain roti 

This was just a vegetable curry, a very nice vegetable curry but lacked any additional elements to trick you into thinking you were indulging yourself. Good roti though. 

Green spiced halibut steamed in banana leaf, chickpea salad  

This was the best dish of the night. The fish perfectly cooked, subtly seasoned and perfect with the zingy chickpeas.

Saffron poached pear, pomegranate jelly and goji berry sorbet

Too the most disappointing dish... I love a poached pear but it has to be cooked perfectly: not hard, not mushy. This was hard and no amount of stabbing with a spoon made any difference. Jelly and sorbet were well made, but didn't work on their own.

Seasonal fruits with light lemon grass jelly

Just plain weird. As my boyfriend said, the selection of fruit "looked like it had been slimed, like in Ghostbusters," (and the slime didn't taste of lemon grass to me).

The selection of sweets that concluded the meal and came with tea were delightful (though, I suspect, not part of the detox menu).

Bar the desserts, I thought this menu did everything that a healthy one should, leaving you satisfied but not too full and without any of the guilt that butter (or ghee) laden dishes often bring. I wouldn't do it every night, or even every month. But come next January (bank account willing) when I am pretending to be weight conscious once again, I might spice up the most depressing month of the year with another visit.

The Cinnamon Club
The Old Westminster Library
30-32 Great Smith Street


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