Cinnamon, just another spice on the lane?
A lovely summer's evening in London - one of life's great pleasures. And what better way to enjoy such an evening than to attend my first OCC meeting. This was something of a first for the OCC as well, venturing further afield to the capital and to arguably the home of curry in England - the world famous Brick Lane. Scouting took place prior to the meeting to determine which of the establishments would be best suited to housing the OCC and after some negotiation a deal was struck with Cinnamon restaurant. Typical of the area, the restaurant operated a 'Bring Your Own' policy for alcohol, which served those OCC members well who had forked out for train fares from Peterborough for this occasion as it offered the opportunity to stock up on strong Polish lagers and plenty of gin & tonic from cheap off licences nearby to cleanse our palates through the meal.
We were greeted and sat on a long table downstairs, which was convenient as the toilets were also downstairs (this proved particularly convenient to those of us sat near the stairs who were offered 'good views' of some of the female patrons returning upstairs after using the facilities - unless you happened to be caught taking a sneaky peak in the angled mirror at the top of the stairs). The staff catered for the drinks we had purchased by supplying ice and lime slices before bringing out the poppadoms. There were certainly plenty to go around, although lime pickle had to be requested additionally as this was not part of the sauces initially brought out. The standard of the poppadoms was fairly decent with the sauces and onions being good, although the lime pickle was almost certainly from a jar rather than being freshly made it seemed.
Then it was time for the starters. The selection from the set menu we were choosing from was very limited. The majority of people ordered either the lamb or chicken shish, with a couple of people being proper awks and asking for one of each. The staff duly obliged though and although the portions were small, they were all eaten. My lamb samosas were very tasty, nice crispy parcels with a good heat to the mince filling, but again they were on the small side. All starters were accompanied by a rather sorry looking 'salad' and a slice of lemon which was a good addition to the lime for the G&T's if nothing else.
Unlike the starters, the choice of mains from the set menu was very extensive. From your typical style curries to chef's specials there was a good variety, including the spicy sounding chicken bhuna naga and haryali chicken - a dish Popeye would be proud of with the amount of spinach in its sauce. Having had mixed experiences of experimenting with chef's special curries on Brick Lane myself in the past, I opted for the standard fare of a chicken Madras. Curries came with rice and a naan, although sides were not included in our offer that had been negotiated but could be purchased at additional cost. I selected pilau rice and a Peshwari naan to accompany my Madras. Everything I had was of a decent standard, not overwhelmingly amazing but very good nonetheless. It's difficult to say whether the piles of empty plates were because everyone thoroughly enjoyed their curry or because they were still so hungry after the measly starter portions, but there was no obvious complaining afterwards so it seemed most people were content with what they had consumed.
After settling up - a superbly priced £17 each including service charge - it was onwards to sample some cocktails in a trendy Shoreditch bar to continue the fun train, before the not-quite-as-fun train back to Peterborough. There were a few nodding dogs as we arrived back home at just gone 1am, some using the feeble excuse of flying in from made up places in Asia, so the fun train didn't continue any further but it had been a very enjoyable journey and a great first OCC meeting for myself.
Customer Care: 6.43 Service: 6.42 Value: 8.85 Quality: 7.25 Atmosphere: 7.82 Total Score: 7.35