The Darjeeling Express Biryani Supper Club at The Cinnamon Club

Asma Khan’s Supper Clubs are pretty legendary and so when I managed to get the last 2 seats for the Biryani Supper Club, which took place at The Cinnamon Club in a gorgeous room, I counted my lucky stars as I realised a little late and would have truly kicked myself if I had missed out.

Ever since the last supper club, both of us (Amit and I) had been dreaming of the Haleem and Biryani and I was so pleased to see them both on the menu for this one, along with lots of new dishes which we hadn’t tried before.

If you haven’t been to a supper club before, or are shy or unsure about going to one, let me just say it is such a fantastic experience! You meet lots of new people over amazing food, and you get to try cuisines that you may never have had before. In this particular supper club, Amit and I didn’t know anyone sitting at our table but by the end of the meal everyone was laughing, teasing each other and fast became brand new friends.

You soon realise that you will meet people with similar interests as you or who can help you in either business, social aspects, charity work or completely random things after conversing with them. I would highly recommend going to a supper club and I can guarantee you will soon be hooked on to the concept as well as network with fantastic individuals.

When we arrived at the Cinnamon Club, we went into a gorgeous room where we refreshed ourselves with a Saffron Gin and Tonic. It was lush! I also met Bibi, a brand new friend who I had been chatting to in the online sphere, as well as Maham, the most talented lady I know.

6176644208_img_4473

6176644208_img_4490

While we chatted, we nibbled on absolutely moreish Potato and Peas samosas and Bihari Dal Phulki, which I just could not stop eating, especially with its accompanying chutney, which had a slight but very addictive kick to it. We ate so much as Asma ensured they were replenished regularly, that I was worried I was going to get full so I had to instil majestic willpower to stop myself from feasting on these.

We were soon ushered into a dining room with various tables, and we introduced ourselves to our table pals. Asma chatted to the room about the meal and dishes to come and also told us of two supper club guests, attending that afternoon, who had actually met at Asma’s previous supper club and are now engaged. Such a cute story!

For starters, we had Mutton Shikampuri Kebabs, Rogni Roti, Calcutta Puchkas (which us Gujus call Pani Puri) and mine (and Bibi’s) favourite, Hyderbadi Haleem.

6174613776_img_4500img_5561img_5560

The Haleem is a special dish as it is a dish that signifies hope. It was a dish which was cooked on the last night of battle and was made with whatever ingredients were available whilst the siege was ongoing. Everything was pounded down and cooked for 8 hours. It is a real dish of optimism and hope and has a special meaning to Asma and for her business.

For mains, we had the star dish – the Calcutta Lamb Dum Biryani. It arrived in a massive platter and our table got through two of these!

6174613776_img_4519

Alongside it we had a scrumptious tomato chutney, which was served warm so something new for me, Hyderbadi Mirchi Ka Salaan, which was spiced up chillies which was divine, and Beetroot Raita, with a pretty pink hue and wonderful cooling taste.

6174613776_img_45296174613776_img_45156174613776_img_4517

Asma’s Biryani dish is absolutely heavenly and it tastes homemade and comforting. I am already craving it whilst typing so am hoping it will feature in a future supper club so I can get my fix!

For dessert, I tried a dish which I had never had before but fell in love with – a Hyderabadi Khoobani Ka Meetha served with fluffy cream. It is made from Apricots and it is just decadent. Big thank you to my table for helping with the food styling 😉

6174613776_img_45456174613776_img_45426174613776_img_4531

You could also have Makaibari Estate Organic Darjeeling Tea, which some of the table did have, as well as Meetha Pan, which was popular amongst the room, with Asma explaining how to eat it to those whose first time it was eating Pan.


All in all it was an absolutely wonderful meal. I enjoyed every single dish and we had such fantastic conversations on our table. I loved trying new dishes and was suitably in a food coma by the end of a superb afternoon. A Saturday well spent!

Thank you Asma for such a fabulous experience and I look forward to the next one! Keep an eye out for her supper club announcements here.

Cinnamon Bazaar

I absolutely love street food and so when Chef Vivek Singh opened Cinnamon Bazaar in Covent Garden, I was really looking forward to trying it out and it was very high on my list.

The list, by the way, grows crazily by the day as London’s restaurant scene is exploding with new openings announced faster than I can make my morning cuppa!

As we walked into the restaurant, the attention to detail in terms of the decor is what immediately caught my eye, starting with the doors when you enter! Make sure you take a moment to look at it all.

Inside the restaurant, it is so colourful, bright and spacious, and I particularly liked the decor on the ceiling. For the duration of your meal you could easily forget you were in London. The walls had this gorgeous design with specks of gold and the dinner tables had the logo etched into the corner. A lot of effort has definitely gone into the interiors and it is fabulous.

While we decided on our food, we chose the house cocktails, which have been made in collaboration with Ryan Chetiyawardana, aka Mr Lyan, an award winning mixologist. They had interesting names and flavour combinations. My friend settled on the Bazaar Old Fashioned, which was a coconut washed Indian Scotch with Coconut Sugar and Burnt Cinnamon. My choice was the Falooda Swizzel, which was white rum, basil seed, creme d’abricot, lime and amaranth cress.  Very unique combinations. I really liked mine but a challenge for you Mr Lyan – please can you make a special flavoured Mojito 😉

 

We chose vegetarian dishes for the entire meal so if you are Vegetarian, this will be of particular interest for you if you are looking for a lovely restaurant to dine at.

From the starters we chose the Kadhai spiced ‘bullet’ chillies with poppy seed gun powder. They reminded me of padron peppers but with spices and the occasional kick. I really enjoyed these although personally would have added a teeny weeny bit more salt as I love fried chillies a little salty. They did have a fantastic flavour though and were perfectly cooked.

img_5558-1

 

From the Chaats we selected the Dahi bhalla chaat: Chilled lentil dumplings with spiced yoghurt and toasted cumin, as one of our choices. I was with a chaat expert so we tried not to over analyse the food. It was refreshing and I loved the dumplings.

 

The Papdi chaat was our second choice, which was a combination of crisp wheat, tangy tamarind, yoghurt and chickpea vermicelli. I especially loved the addition of cucumber and thought that it was a fantastic Papdi chaat. It would be amazing in the summer as a lunch dish too as it is so cooling.

My favourite from the chaats, however, was the Jodhpuri kachori chaat. This was spiced onion dumplings, curried white peas, and a chutney medley. The kachori itself was to die for and so so tasty. This is a must order and a dish I will re-order when I go back.

From the bazaar plates section we tried the Paneer 65 because you have got to have paneer right? This was stir-fried with curry leaf & green chilli. I loved the flavour of the curry leaf but the fiery scorpio in me wanted a little more green chilli. It was tasty nevertheless.

Our absolute favourite dish from them all though was the Grilled aubergine with a sesame peanut crumble, labna and toasted buckwheat. It was ridiculously good and very addictive. All the flavours worked so well together and I highly recommend this dish, especially if you are an aubergine lover.

 

From the sides we went with garlic naans, which were lovely,warm and fluffy.

Dessert was incredible and I went for the Cardamom kheer crème brûlée. I am quite hesitant in ordering flavoured creme brulees after having a disappointing experience once, but this version ticked all the boxes. It was flavoursome, the texture was spot on and it was dreamy. It was served with a nankhatai (shortbread).

img_5380

My friend went for the Carrot halwa roll with clove flavoured iced double cream. The carrot halwa was an interesting mix of regular carrot and black carrot and the clove ice cream worked really well with it. A novel combination.

He also couldn’t resist going for masala chai and I mean look at that teapot! How cute is that?

All in all we really enjoyed our meal at Cinnamon Bazaar and the choice was incredible. I will be back to try out the non-vegetarian dishes for sure so will either expand within this review or write a separate one. The prices on the menu are so reasonable for Covent Garden and the service was fantastic and really quick. The buzz and ambience was fun and it is a great venue to catch up with friends or go for a pre-theatre meal.

We went for dinner but would definitely go for lunch too as it is so lovely and relaxed. If you are vegetarian there is so much choice so if you fancy street food it is a really great venue.

For more information on Cinnamon Bazaar and to see the menus click here.

Our meal was complimentary but all views and photos are my own.

Clove and Cinnamon Coffee

There is nothing more comforting than a mug of coffee with an amazing aroma of warming spices. I have been using the Sage Appliances Barista Express and decided to experiment with some flavours.


On a cold wintery day, I tried making it with clove and cinnamon, and I loved how it tasted. It instantly banished the gloom and perked me up.

Here is how you make this coffee.

Ingredients:

  • 1 shot brewed espresso. I brewed mine in the Barista Express
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • Couple of Coffee beans for garnish

Method:

  1. I placed 1 clove in the 1/4 cup of milk and let it infuse for around 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile I brewed the espresso in a mug.
  3. I then filled the mug with hot water and added sugar and mixed well.
  4. I then removed the clove from the milk and frothed the milk.
  5. Once it was nice and fluffy, I topped my mug of coffee with it.
  6. I sprinkled on some cinnamon powder and decorated with some coffee beans.

To read my review of the Sage Appliances Barista Express go here.