It’s my favourite meal of the day, although I don’t subscribe to the adage that Somerset Maugham penned: “To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day.” He, I don’t doubt, was referring to the full English for which we are quite rightly famed, although the quality of food these days in the UK is a world away from that ‘damned’ by the celebrated playwright. Now, he would be spoilt for choice, at breakfast and every other meal at Cinnamon Club.
The English breakfast is indeed a worthy and iconic repast but one can’t eat like that every day, unless one is a manual worker. It’s a treat and I personally reserve it for when somebody else is doing the washing up. Find a decent restaurant and relax with the papers to take advantage of those occasions. And Cinnamon Club is a great deal more than a ‘decent’ restaurant, but its prices for breakfast are a great deal less than one might expect.
Cinnamon Club is one of the finest Indian restaurants in London and housed in a former Victorian library. The crockery gives a literary nod to the provenance of the venue. If one looks closely one will note the pattern around the edge of one’s breakfast plate – spines of books; and there is more to appreciate in the dark wood, stained glass and parquet flooring. It’s a classy and stylish restaurant that speaks of quintessential English heritage, although the food for lunch and dinner is exotic and Subcontinental.
Breakfast here is a melange of typical English favourites, Anglo-Indian classics and Indian traditional, and all those dishes are served with what I consider the best toast in London. Thick slices of real bread, and those slices are presented whole rather than in iffy, skinny triangles. This is toast for those who appreciate the finer things in life like real butter and a nice pot of jam.
English – Eggs of your choice with Cumberland sausage or oak-smoked back bacon, grilled tomato, flat mushroom and toast
Omelette – three eggs with choice of filling: mushroom, cheese, ham, salmon or spiced
Scrambled eggs with Loch Fyne smoked salmon
Full English – eggs of your choice, sausage, smoked back bacon, white and black pudding, grilled tomato, flat mushroom and toast
Continental (that’s Europe not Asia) – fresh seasonal fruits, selection of cheeses, honey roast ham, choice of freshly squeezed juice, and selection of breakfast pastries
Anglo-Indian – Kedgeree with smoked haddock and poached egg.
Kedgeree is thought to have originated from a traditional Indian rice dish with lentils called Khichri. This can be traced back to the 14th century but the modern Kedgeree was brought to the United Kingdom by the returning British who introduced it to the UK as a breakfast.
Indian – Uttapam – South Indian rice pancake with toppings: onion, green chilli, tomato, peppers, served with coconut chutney and lentil broth.
Uttapam is a pancake of batter made from urad dal and rice. This is a thick fluffy pancake with toppings cooked into the batter. Uttapam is sometimes described as an Indian pizza although it’s much more delicate and light. This was my choice of breakfast and it’s a delightful start to the day. Not over-spicy although the broth offered a very agreeable aromatic heat. A proper cooked breakfast without the calories of a regular fry-up.
Cinnamon Club offers a gluten-free alternative to common breakfast fare – quinoa upma with curry leaf, served with coconut chutney. Upma is usually made with semolina (called Rava or Suji in India) but here it’s made with quinoa which is an ancient seed enjoying something of a cult following in the US and UK.
Bombay scrambled eggs on cumin ‘pao’. This was my guest’s choice and it was a satisfying and creamy mound of scrambled eggs spiced with Indian flavours. The ‘pao’ is a bun or square of split bread and this one had cumin seeds baked in for a distinctive taste. A comforting and hearty breakfast, and a change from your usual eggs.
Cinnamon Club never disappoints. This is an ideal spot for a quiet breakfast meeting, but it should be on the list of must-dos in London for any discerning tourists who find themselves in the neighbourhood of Parliament Square. It offers a truly unique culinary experience that acknowledges the old Empire in a most palatable fashion. The restaurant is beautiful and its location is hard to beat but it’s the food that will assure your return, and your breakfast won’t break the bank. Such value for money with this ambiance is hard to find.
Breakfast weekdays 7.30am – 9.30am
Lunch Mon – Sat 12 noon – 2.45pm
Dinner Mon – Sat 6.00pm – 10.45pm
Library Bar weekdays 11.00am – 11.45pm
Cinnamon Club Bar Mon – Sat 6.00pm -11.45pm
The Cinnamon Club
The Old Westminster Library,
30-32 Great Smith Street,
London SW1P 3BU
Phone: 020 7222 2555
Visit Cinnamon Club here
Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018