“Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time like few on the tip of a leaf.” – Rabindranath Tagore
The last few months have been hectic but great. Between work, events and wedding planning, it’s all been a bit of a whirlwind but fantastic nonetheless. I have been fortunate enough to attend some really cool events, one of which was Vivek Singh’s Guest Chef Series kick off collaboration dinner with Adam Handling of the critically acclaimed, The Frog E1.
To say that I love what I do would be an understatement. For those of you who don’t know, I work in restaurant PR as my full time job and write this little blog in my spare time. Food is something that I am incredibly passionate about and working in the restaurant industry and writing this blog has been nothing short of rewarding. I look after the PR for Vivek Singh, the Executive Chef of The Cinnamon Collection and he’s one of the most talented and kindest chefs I’ve had the pleasure of working with. When we decided to embark on organising a guest chef series, we were quite excited to work with some of London’s leading chefs. For this special summer series, Vivek is teaming up with Adam Handling, Aggi Sverrisson of Michelin-starred restaurant Texture, Jose Pizarro of hit Spanish restaurant Pizarro and the legendary Mark Hix. Each collaborative dinner features a five course tasting menu that fuses Vivek’s modern-Indian cuisine with each chef’s signature culinary style.
Meeting all of these chefs and learning more about their cooking style was really fun and it was amazing to see it all come to fruition on Monday night at The Cinnamon Club, where the first dinner with Adam Handling kicked off. Vivek and Adam joined forces to create a magnificent menu of Indian and Asian-inspired delights.
The Cinnamon Club is a renowned Indian restaurant located in the Grade II-listed Old Westminster Library across the street from the Houses of Parliament. As we arrived, we were led into the Library Bar for cocktails and canapés of fresh crab and kokum salad on a lotus crisp, moreish beef tartare on tapioca crisp and a cod roe mousse in a wanton, all of which gave us a lovely preview of what was to come.
Vivek and Adam talked us through the unique menu that we were about to try. The pair’s menu combined both chefs’ culinary styles that was a real feast for the eyes and showcased their talents exquisitely.
The first course on our gastronomic adventure was how Adam simply put – salmon and peas – but this dish was anything but simple and for the first time in the 15 year history of The Cinnamon Club, liquid nitrogen was used to create a showstopping tarter. Freezing snow peas were drizzled on top of salmon with sweet and sour wasabi. Adam combines his creativity and theatrical flair with his love of Asian flavours to create memorable and beautifully plated dishes.
Our second starter was a glorious combination of Kadhai spice-crusted pigeon breast with pickled beetroot and galouti tartare. There was also a small side of mango chutney that rounded off the tender pigeon marvellously. Vivek explained to us that this chutney was his mother’s own recipe from India and it was a special treat to sample some.
An uncommon main dish created by Adam Handling was celeriac, truffle, yolk, apple and dates. What may sound like an odd mix of elements on their own, tasted fabulous when combined. A sweet yet tangy combination of textures and flavours melted in our mouths and all of us could agree, whether we liked it or not, that it was a most memorable dish. I personally loved it.
The collaborative main was a tandoori smoked saddle of lamb, slow-cooked raan, cauliflower pickle and fried greens. Any lamb I have ever had of Vivek’s has always been enjoyable and as someone who isn’t a big fan of lamb to begin with, you can trust me when I say that this lamb is truly spectacular. Smoky, melt-in-your-mouth and perfectly tender, this is the type of food that puts a smile on your face and makes you feel elated. And that’s what Vivek’s cooking does – it makes you happy because it not only tastes divine but you can really see the passion and effort that goes into each dish.
Adam’s dessert was the cheeseball of dreams… sweet and savoury, filled with gooey warm cheese and sprinkled with mozzarella cheese shavings, what could be better? We’re planning a trip to The Frog just to try these legendary cheese balls again.
Alas, our gastronomical journey ended on a sweet note with Vivek’s bitter chocolate mousse, burnt orange jelly and strawberry tamarind chaat and a glass of Taylor’s, Tawny 10 year-old Port. I always love ending a savoury meal with chocolate.
A huge thank you to all of the talented Cinnamon chefs, Vivek and Adam for making this wonderful dinner. It was nothing short of spectacular.
If you’re a real foodie and want to sample amazing dishes from some of London’s top chefs, Vivek Singh’s Guest Chef Series is the perfect way to do so. Welcome cocktails and canapés, five-courses with wine pairings and coffee/petit fours – it’s a real feast. The next dinner is with Aggi Sverrisson on Wednesday, 21st June. Combining Indian and Icelandic cuisines, this special dinner is not one to be missed. Buy a pair of tickets through Design My Night.
Jose Pizarro’s dinner is on the 19th July and the Mark Hix dinner is on the 18th September.