Cinnamon Kitchen over the years has spawned a strong roster of talented chefs who have gone on to achieve fantastic things all over the world. One of the most instrumental members of the founding team was Abdul Yaseen, who helped to make Cinnamon Kitchen a global name. In recent years, he has moved on to open his own restaurant, Darbaar; so recently we went to check out their thrill of the grill tasting menu.
The Liverpool Street location is perfect for appealing to the business clientele with company card-sized budgets and the decor is suitably sleek and business-like. Their large open kitchen with state of the art equipment dominates a significant part of the floor space. If you are going as a large party, try to book their chef’s table which can sit up to 12 guests and you even get a private window where your food can be delivered personally.
The tasting menu comes with 6 dishes and numerous sides, so make sure you have a light lunch before tackling the thrill of the grill menu. It starts off with a classic street dish, tawa hari tikki chat, which is a crunchy appetiser that was both sweet and tart due to the use of potent tamarind and it was the ideal way to get the gastric juices flowing for what was about to be served.
Grilled king scallop and Madagascar prawns was a starter fit for royalty. Rarely will you see a more impressively-sized prawn, which also had a gentle hint of charred flavours from their tandoori grill. The tomato salsa was the perfect condiment to match with the dish.
Next came a selection of meats which included a melt-in-your-mouth tender chicken kebab and Punjabi lamb chops which were well matched with a coriander curry.
The surprising dish of the night was the tawa macchli as Indian spices can often overwhelm the delicate nature of a fish dish, but here the marination was subtle and readily infused into the fish meat, as it was cooked in a banana leaf. The dish was also unusually served with a yoghurt rice and a tomato chutney.
The main course was Raan-e-Mussalam, a dish regularly feasted on by the great Mughal Kings. It was slow braised so that the meat would fall apart readily and flavoured with classic spices like cumin, curry leaf and coriander.
It would be an extremely hungry man who would be able to finish the above and their shahi kulfi, Indian ice cream dessert but thankfully they do have the facility where you can take away leftover food. It is a wonderful thing to see that even at a top quality restaurant like Darbaar, food wastage is discouraged.