I went to The Cinnamon in Brick Lane yesterday with a group of friends from work. Whilst the company was great, the overall experience of dining at The Cinnamon left rather a lot to be desired.
The food was passable. For starters, I had vegetable samosas (pictured above), which, priced at £3.50, was a massive rip-off, considering you can get much larger ones than that pictured at most newsagents for £1 or so. A friend had negotiated a 20% off the overall bill which was excellent, but even with that 20% off, I felt severely short-changed by the tiny samosa.
Also, I'd ordered vegetable samosa and been given lamb ones. As I was with colleagues and didn't want to show my true Gone Girlish colours, I checked my temper. But inside, I was seething. The cheek.
We had to wait what felt like a small eternity for our mains, and the first plate that was offered to me quite noticeably had food on it. As mentioned previously, I was trying not to be a diva, but food hygiene comes higher than public relations in my hierarchy of self-preservation, so I bluntly told the waiter that I wouldn't be eating from that plate and could I please have another one. I was answered with a tut and an eyeroll, but graciously, offered a new plate.
My dish, chicken tikka masala, was, as advertised, mild, and generally tasted pretty decent, so I will give The Cinnamon kudos for that. The dish photographed to the right of it, was what my friend ordered, and I had a little taste of that as well. The potatoes were lovely.
However, the cheesy naan bread was extremely burnt, and I could taste the cheese used was of low quality. Having to dip such starchy, unappetising bread into my tikka masala detracted from the richness of the sauce substantially.
The service was also a goddamn travesty. As mentioned, the two courses took far too long to arrive, with there being an hour between the two courses. I think this was because next to us were a huge party of 20 or so people, and they'd arrived just before us, so the restaurant had to cater for them as well. Which is fair enough. But I think that shows that the restaurant was understaffed for its full capacity, and thus, at busy times, the poor sods who arrive a minute after the previous party feel the brunt of it in terms of a rumbling stomach.
The main waiter who served us also had such an awful chip on his shoulder, that you would think he was a Chinese waiter in Chinatown. Rolling his eyes at me when he'd had the temerity to offer me a disgusting, filthy plate was a cheek. Every time we tried to beckon him over to take our order, he'd come just to tell us curtly to wait. Charming. And the icing on the cake was at the end, when he'd failed to collate all the receipts and so his calculations didn't add up (although everyone had paid), so he tried to block us from leaving the restaurant whilst he searched for the receipt that he had lost.
All this horrendous service, yet The Cinnamon helped themselves to a tip on the final bill, which worked out to £2 a person. As I said, I was in company, so trying not to show what a shrew I truly was. If I hadn't been with other people, I would have contested that service charge. On the basis of the attitude we'd received, this circus of a restaurant should have been paying us.
Influences: Taylor Swift breakup songs, Quentin Tarantino movies, songs covered in Glee, tracks frequently used in Sky Sports football montages and basically anything I can turn my swag on conduct terrible karaoke to.
1.Homecoming (Kanye West ft. Chris Martin)
2.Son of a Preacher Man (Dusty Springfield)
3.Alison (Elvis Costello)
4.What Makes You Beautiful (One Direction)
5.Rocky Raccoon (The Beatles)
6.Hallelujah (Rufus Wainwright)
7.Sinnerman (Nina Simone)
8.I Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor Swift)
9.Sexy! No No No… (Girls Aloud)
10.Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie (Joanna Newsom)
11.Off to the Races (Lana del Rey)
12.Fancy (Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX)
13.November Has Come (Gorillaz)
14.Samson (Regina Spektor)
15.Romeo and Juliet (Dire Straits)
16.Stuck in the Middle with You (Stealers Wheel)
17.Run this Town (Rihanna, Jay-Z and Kanye West)
18.Power (Kanye West)
19.Untouchable (Girls Aloud)
20.This is What Makes Us Girls (Lana del Rey)
21.Paper Planes (M.I.A.)
22.Talk Show Host (Radiohead)
23.Lullaby (Dixie Chicks)
24.All These Things that I've Done (The Killers)
25.Angie Baby (Helen Reddy)
26.22 (Taylor Swift)
27.Wild Boys (Duran Duran)
28.Love the Way You Lie Part II (Rihanna ft. Eminem)
29.Head over Heels (Tears for Fears)
30.Boys Don't Cry (The Cure)
31.Problem (Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea)
32.Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy (Queen)
33.We Are Never Getting Back Together (Taylor Swift)
34.Glory Box (Portishead)
35.Empire State of Mind: Broken Down (Alicia Keys)
36.How Do You Like Me Now? (The Heavy)
37.2am (The Saturdays)
38.Adia (Sarah McLachlan)
39.Tiny Dancer (Elton John)
40.Baba O'Riley (The Who)
41.Wildwood Flower (June Carter Cash)
42.The Loving Kind (Girls Aloud)
43.California Dreamin' (The Mamas and the Papas)
44.Cat People (Putting Out Fire) (David Bowie)
45.Chelsea Dagger (The Fratellis)
46.My Father's Gun (Elton John)
47.What I Go to School for (Busted)
48.Bang Bang (Jessie J ft. Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj)
49.When She Loved Me (Sarah McLachlan)
51.Cell Block Tango (Chicago OST)
52.Hey Jude (The Beatles)
53.Brandy Alexander (Feist)
54.Don't Stop Believin' (Journey)
55.Defying Gravity (Idina Menzel)
56.Sueños (Diego Torres)
57.Love Affair (Regina Spektor)
58.Video Games (Lana del Rey)
59.I Don't Want to Go to Chelsea (Elvis Costello)
60.Dragon Queen (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
61.Under Pressure (Queen ft. David Bowie)
62.Brown Eyes (Lady Gaga)
63.See You Again (Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth)
64.It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference (Todd Rundgren)
65.Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Tears for Fears)
66.Underneath Your Clothes (Shakira)
67.Blank Space (Taylor Swift)
68.Travelin' Soldier (Dixie Chicks)
69.Numb Encore (Jay Z ft. Linkin Park)
70.Lovely Head (Goldfrapp)
71.Bad Girls (M.I.A.)
72.Fucking Problems (A$AP Rocky ft. 2 Chainz, Drake & Kendrick Lamar)
73.I Wish I Knew How it Feels to Be Free (Nina Simone)
74.Shout (Tears for Fears)
75.Good For You (Selena Gomez ft. A$AP Rocky)
76.She (Elvis Costello)
77.Vincent (Don McLean)
78.As Long as You Love Me (Justin Bieber ft. Big Sean)
79.Golden Slumbers (K.D. Lang)
80.Lullaby (The Cure)
81.Picture to Burn (Taylor Swift)
82.All Along the Watchtower (Devlin ft. Ed Sheeran)
83.Ay Vamos (J. Balvin)
84.Waka Waka (Shakira)
85.Pennies in my Pocket (Emilio Estefan)
87.Airplanes part 2 (B.o.B, Hayley Williams & Eminem)
88.The River (Joni Mitchell)
89.Hey Mama (Kanye West)
90.6 Inch (Beyonce ft. The Weeknd)
91.O Saya (A.R. Rahman ft. M.I.A)
92.Baby (Justin Bieber ft. Ludacris)
93.Take a Bow (Rihanna)
94.Work (Kelly Rowland)
95.Ignition (Remix) (R. Kelly)
96.Notorious (Duran Duran)
97.Call the Shots (Girls Aloud)
98.Shake it Off (Taylor Swift)
99.Let Me Love You (Ariana Grande ft. Lil’ Wayne)
100.White Horse (Taylor Swift)
Another cheeky European two-night holiday for me! I'd never been to Ireland before, and, seeing as Saoirse Ronan is one of my favourite actresses and Domhnall Gleeson, one of my favourite actors (incidentally, both who graced my top performances of 2015 list), only seemed right to visit the land that produced these exceptional talents!
A couple of pictures from my trip, below.
It being Euro 2016, the Ireland flags were out in earnest!
This made me think of the excellent The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.
From the fabulous doughnut store next to Pearce Dart Station. 3 doughnuts for €6. Would be rude not to!
From Trinity College, Dublin.
I met up with my good friend Karl from Twitter and we had rather a lot of cocktails from 2pm. Swag tho.
No one in the corner have a trollface like us!
...Because a meeting between pals isn't legit until it's been plastered on Snapchat. #KagawaKnows
I liked this because it had a distinctly Shawshank-vibe, haha.
I also visited the Guinness factory...
... and took some selfies. Not vain at all, like.
The fact that there was a live band in the Guinness factory that played legit Irish music just edges it above the Heineken brewery.
Cocktails for racists. Quick, someone get Stefan some.
Named as such because the pub falls on the intersection of Bedford Street and the Strand, I immediately thought of Rooney Mara when I heard of this place, because Rooney was born in Bedford, New York. (I’m somewhat obsessed with her, in case you hadn’t noticed).
Anyway, despite being at such a hot location, Bedford & Strand wasn’t half as noisy as some of its neighbouring west End drinking holes, and all the better for it. Because it’s a sort of gastropub/wine bar, the clientele is a little bit more upmarket then the drunken football fans you’ll find in Slug and Lettuce (no shade, just stating facts). And as much as it’s fun to be in good company of fellow inebriated football yoofs occasionally, sometimes you want to enjoy your booze in a slightly more genteel surroundings.
With the delineation between bar and gastropub now fully established, I didn’t feel a burning desire to try the food out here. Too many pubs that do half-arsed microwave lunches have burned me in the past (quite literally sometimes – the food is scalding hot, yet somehow, undercooked). So I can’t comment on the quality of the food.
I can, however, talk about the wine, and the wine was ace! And so reasonably priced – a delicious bottle of white wine was only £28 – compare that to the extortionate prices the Royal Opera Houses’s Amphitheatre restaurant, when the wine there was so unremarkable that I forgot to even comment on it in my review. We only sampled one bottle of wine when at Bedford & Strand (from the Staff Picks list), but due to its success, I can't wait to try some of the others on the Staff Picks list!
The beer that Bedford & Strand have on tap is also tasty, and very potent, and well-priced, at £4.50 a pint. Word of warning, however: because it's so easy on the tastebuds, you sip at it at a dangerously rapid pace. Before I knew it, I was seriously drunk!
Overall, this was a really nice find, and one that genuinely surprised me given most pubs in London’s prime locations tend to be mediocre-to-awful. Once you step inside, you might feel it’s a bit posh for you, but bear with it. Plus, due to being located right next to Charing Cross, your drunken stagger need not be too laborious a process.
It’s a well-run, well-decorated, and best of all, well-stocked pub in the city.
My final post of four from my brief trip to Amsterdam will be a pic spam of photos I took from the fantastic Rijksmuseum. It's funny; when in London, I'm not really one for art galleries (the last time I visited was November), yet the second I'm in a foreign land, I actually engage the artistic part of my brain and want to check out what that country has to offer!
Girl with a Pearl Earring is my favourite novel (tied with Lolita of course), so I was delighted to see a Vermeer painting in the flesh!