A week in London


Great reviews.

I thought the Cinnamon Club was excellent despite some concerns I had prior to the meal. The food still had the same punch and exciting flavors you expect from Indian in a nicer atmosphere and higher tab. We brought a few co-workers who never had Indian food before and we made believers out of them.


Here’s a write-up of C&R, the Malaysian place I recommended above.


Lahore Kebab House
Cheese from Neal’s Yard Dairy
Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop and Tasting Room

plus a large gallery of images of street art in East London.


Our time in London is coming to an end but I still have a large backlog of restaurant reports. New since my last post are:

Tayyabs: the legendary Whitechapel curry house
Smoking Goat: hipster Thai barbecue in Covent Garden
Borough Market: a report on food at the famous market
Royal China, Baker St.: dim sum at the flagship of this popular group
Gunpowder: trendy and excellent small plates Indian in Spitalfields


Bourough Market looks like fun. And your blog is interesting and funny. Good for you. :slight_smile:




Did your trip pan out? Where did you end up eating?

Only four more days in London for us…


Hey, meant to respond to this a while ago, but I’m still traipsing around Europe and totally blanked. (By the way, is food in Amsterdam as bad as it’s been for me this trip?)

So the London portion of the trip was quite short as I mentioned, but I managed to make it to Hoppers, Noble Rot, and Cinnamon Club, all based on your recommendations.

Hoppers was so damn joyful. We showed up right at 5:30 on one of those glorious 75 degree days that seem to come around like ten times a year in London and were seated immediately against the window. Most everything was superb. We did the calamari fry (no idea if that’s authentic, but it was delicious.)

It was my first time trying string hoppers, and while I didn’t find them to be that compelling by themselves, they were a perfect dipping instrument for the wonderful accompanying sambal.

The lamb kothu was a nearly flawless rendition, juicy, perfectly cooked lamb with toothsome roti and just enough spice. What I would do for this to be a readily available dish in LA.

Black pork curry was the only non standout dish. Pork was quite dry, though the curry itself was much more complex than the version I just had at Lakruwana in Staten Island.

An added bonus was that they had coconut arrack, which I find nearly impossible to find in the states. What an interesting spirit, pretty herbal with a pleasant bite, scarily drinkable though :slight_smile:


We had lunch at Noble Rot, and though we planned on getting the set (and very affordable) lunch menu, we got in there and couldn’t resist going a little crazy. Unfortunately, service was a bit slow… though every time I get outta the states, I have to remind myself that everybody else in the world seems to enjoy twenty-five minutes between courses. Just had a meal in Amsterdam that was 3.5 hours for five courses… my god.

Frustratingly, the menu is down right now on their website, but let me see what I can remember. We had a wonderful white asparagus dish. And we had the slip sole in smoked butter (which according to the waiter, has been on the menu since they opened.) Damn good. It’s such a simple, almost austere preparation, but my goodness this is how you let ingredients stand on their own.

As for mains, I had the guinea fowl (or something of the sort) which was beautifully grilled and served with an array of spring vegetables. Somewhat of a mis-order on my part, though this was another dish in which the ingredients were allowed to shine. Really good, but perhaps not different or exciting enough to warrant getting again.

My wife had either a turbot or a monkfish dish. Can’t double check with the menu being down, though I remember sneaking some bites and being deeply envious…

Thanks for this recommendation, what a wonderful little spot. I have a feeling this will become a London mainstay for us. And we had never been to that neighborhood. Such a nice street.


Cinnamon Club was such an amusing experience for us. First off, it’s such a gorgeous space. Second, it’s in the middle of Westminster, which is an absolute ghost town after work. Third, the service/decor/everything is so damn pompous, though not really in an off-putting way. I’m not sure about the ethical questions about trying to imitate the golden era of colonialism, but it is an interesting little trip.

We had some more service issues; in this case, we were seated about 35 minutes after our reservation time. I don’t mind a wait, and their little bar is one of the better places to wait in the world, but they shouldn’t have told us it was only gonna be an extra five-ten minutes…

The food though was extraordinary. I rarely eat Indian, mainly because it’s so mediocre in LA, and though it’s a bit better in NYC where I’ve been the last couple years, I’m still not sure it’s worth the jaunt into Murray Hill… Cinnamon Club was destination worthy though. The nuance and the lightness in the cuisine was remarkable. Is there anything in the US that comes close to this?

We played it safer than I woulda liked to because we were with a less adventurous guest, but here’s what we got.

Tandoori octopus with chutney aloo: I’ve no idea if octopus is commonly used in Indian cuisine (and I’m sure some regions and sub-cuisines use it much more than others) but this was wonderful. Reminded me almost of Cosme’s or Taco Maria’s al pastor fish-dishes. Or even like a Guerrila Taco type dish.

Then we did the king prawns with mango coriander sauce and rice vermicelli. These were perfect and relatively simple…

Finally, we did the butter chicken for the table. The waiter said that although this dish seems pretty standard, it was actually one that the chef had spent the most time researching and perfecting. Sensational. It’s hard to recommend butter chicken at a place like this, but I’ve very rarely had better chicken in my life. The black lentils and naan were perfect accompaniments.

Thanks so much for the recs. Where are you going for your last meals in the city?


Glad you enjoyed all the meals.

Just a note: Cinnamon Club is not trying to recreate a colonial milieu; the building used to be the Westminster Library and so in their renovation they’ve maintained the library aesthetic. For a fancy Indian place that is trading on colonial nostalgia see Gymkhana.

We were back at Hoppers ourselves last week–I think I enjoyed this meal even more than my previous. And we got the window seat too! This is what I said about that black pork kari in my review last year: “A dry pork curry; the flavours were great but the pork was overcooked. Still, given how thrilled I’d be to find anything like this in the US I’m not going to complain too much.”

I had that slip sole at Noble Rot last year and just loved it. It’s a riff on a classic dish at the Sportsman.

Yes, service is far more relaxed in most London establishments. We were at Barrafina recently and despite the long queue of people waiting for tables no one seemed to be in any hurry to take orders or bring the bill.

Our final fancy meal will be St. John on Monday. Other than that we’re probably going to do Malaysian one more time and call it a trip. We have to spend some time before our departure midweek winding down our flat and other responsibilities here.


Ahh interesting to note regarding Cinnamon Club and Gymkhana.

St. John is definitely on our list, hopefully in the next year or so. I do love that in London it’s so easy to find meals that don’t necessarily have US equivalents. (Or at least LA equivalents.)

What neighborhood have you been staying in?


We have been putting up in Westminster, a hop, skip and jump from the Cinnamon Club. Despite living in the shadow of the Abbey we have not yet gone in…the plan is to do it Monday, before we leave on Wednesday.


Well, our three months in London ended over a month ago. We went off to Scotland for a week and a half after that and are now readjusting to life in Minnesota. I’ve been continuing to catch up slowly with my London restaurant reviews and am also posting reports of distillery visits and eating in Scotland. For the few who are interested, here are my reports since my last post:

  • A return to Hoppers, which might be the best bang for the buck in London, across cuisines.
  • Ceviche, a hip Peruvian place in Soho (across from Hoppers).
  • Ajanta, a random curry house in Shepherd’s Bush.
  • A couple of meals at a couple of locations of Barrafina, the hottest tapas slingers in London.
  • Dinner at the oddly named eastZeast, an Indian restaurant in Liverpool.
  • Chilli Cool, Sichuan food near the British Library.
  • Tamarind, the OG Michelin starred Indian in Mayfair.
  • A report on Italian lunch at Padella, including a farewell/tribute to London.

A few more to come from London, including more Sichuan and a return to St. John.

And from Scotland so far:

A few more distillery reports and meal reviews to come (there’s very good seafood in Scotland).

And if anyone’s interested in recommendations/warnings for a first visit to Scotland: here you go.

We’re a little traveled out and so will skip our annual summer visit to LA. Hope to be there in December though.


Now that a snarky call-out (the best kind) on the LA forum has roused me from suspended animation here, I may as well update the list of London reviews. Since I’ve last posted in this thread, the following have been written up on the blog:


  • Dim sum at Royal China’s Canary Wharf location. Very good execution again, and a great location right on the Thames, especially if you sit outdoors; plus you can arrive at the restaurant by boat and feel all James Bond’ish.

  • Fish and Chips at the Laughing Halibut in Westminster. If you’re doing the Westminster Abbey and Big Ben thing this is a decent way to also check fish and chips off your list.

  • Buffet lunch at Cinnamon Lounge, an unpretentious curry house in Isleworth. You’re never going to go there but it’s rather striking how much superior even this kind of Indian food in London is.

  • More Malaysian food at Rasa Sayang in Chinatown. They’ve since undergone a renovation.

  • Very good Sichuan food at Baiwei, also in Chinatown. This is part of the Bar Shu group and Fuchsia Dunlop consulted on the menu. Some questionable Mao-related kitsch in the decor.


I recently closed out my London meal reports. Here’s what went up on the blog since my last update here:

  • Afternoon Tea at St. Ermin’s Hotel. What a weird (and repellent) institution Afternoon Tea is.

  • Dinner at St. John. St. John remains a must-do for anyone interested in food, visiting London for the first time.

  • Ersatz Bavarian food at Munich Cricket Club for the office crowd in Westminster.

  • Very good mid-level Indian food at Salaam Namaste in the Russell Square/Bloomsbury area.

  • Mainstream Thai food at an outpost of the Thai Square chain.

  • Decent curry house fare at Sipson Tandoori, near the ring of hotels around Heathrow.

  • And finally, a report on the very first restaurant we ate at, just a few hours after arrival: Ma La Sichuan in Westminster.