It’s nearly Halloween time and various restaurants are making changes to their menus. A lot of them are fairly meek efforts, with a cursory addition of pumpkin dim sum or calling a newly created spooky because they’ve added black sambuca. Come on people, if you’re going to celebrate Halloween, go all out! Remember that this is a festival centred around the macabre, the sinister and the frightening. Put noodles on a bed of owl’s blood or have that cocktail served with an eyeball of a murdered lighthouse keeper.
Thank goodness then for a place like Cinnamon Soho, which has long since been a place that I have cherished and adored. They have put together a menu which is available until the 31st and features quite ghoulish creations. My companion and I started with devilled duck hearts, which were crusted in crushed coriander and chilli with hot garlic chutney. These were exquisitely prepared and had that long standing trademark of the Cinnamon restaurants, using the alchemy of spices and flavours to enhance the experience. My only quibble was the presentation of the dish. It was shoddily spread across the plate and didn’t do it justice. It almost reminded me of the way that I put food on a plate. OK, not that bad, but I was expecting a little more consideration given the quality of the meal.
The next part was a little less macabre and was slow-cooked oxtail and onion in a home-made samosa pastry with caper lime raita and tamarind chutney. I couldn’t see how this tied in to the theme of Halloween but it was so fantastically put together that I didn’t spend too much time debating the issue. The pre-frontal synapses that were debating how an oxtail fits into ghouls and goblins were overwhelmed with the reward centres just above the thalamus. It was magnificently prepared and served, another example of how Cinnamon Soho can apply fine dining Indian techniques to British staples.
The centrepiece of the menu was the Brain Burger, a truly committed response to the theme of Halloween. It was a deep-fried lambs brains in a burger topped with crunchy onion rings, sliced tomatoes and salad with masala wedges and coriander chutney dip. Although a novel idea, it didn’t turn out well. The problem with brains are quite gelatinous and they do not have the texture and firmness of meat. It was too flimsy and didn’t provide the satisfaction of a regular burger.
Overall, Cinnamon Soho affirmed their reputation as an innovative and dynamic restaurant. If you’re looking for something different and clever to do with Halloween, it is well worth while to skip other places and head down to Cinnamon Soho.
5 Kingly Street
Tel: 020 7437 1664