Review: Modern Indian cuisine at Cinnamon Bazaar
Textures and flavours collide at chef Vivek Singh’s new restaurant at Park Hyatt Dubai…
In a crowded curry marketplace it can be hard to stand out whilst still trying to remain traditional and free of gimmicky dishes. It’s a cuisine so close to Dubai residents’ hearts that everyone thinks they know best, too. Chef Vivek Singh has a better claim than most though, having six cookbooks and a handful of revered Indian restaurants to his name. Following the success of The Cinnamon Club, Cinnamon Kitchen, Covent Garden’s Cinnamon Bazaar, Cinnamon Kitchen Oxford and most recently Cinnamon Kitchen Battersea, he’s now opened his first international post at Park Hyatt Dubai.
Presentation is certainly something not too high on the agenda at your standard curry house, but our starters here – inside the colourful world of Cinnamon Bazaar – were certainly there to be enjoyed by the eyes first.
The Jodhpuri kachori chaat was a fury of texture, colour and spices. Essentially a collection of triangular spiced onion dumplings stuffed with curried white peas, and smothered in a medley of multicoloured chutneys, pomegranate seeds and crispy sev puri (Dhs70), it burst with a parade of flavours.
For us to call the watermelon chaat (Dhs50) a palette cleanser, almost seems to do the dish a disservice, but that’s what it felt like; a fantastic accompaniment to the former chaat (kudos to our waiter for suggesting it), the sweet, pressed watermelon, amaranth seeds, date chutney and masala cashew nut provided a sharp and clean mouthfeel.
Choosing a main course was harder, especially when you’re not familiar with which are gravy curries and which are plated. But it was impossible for us to see past the grilled aubergine (Dhs45), with sesame peanut crumble, labnah and toasted buckwheat (Dhs45). What a unique mix of ingredients – the gummy peanut flavour offered in a novel crispy snack worked beautifully with the slightly charred yet soft aubergine. Meanwhile, our one gravy curry, the Rajasthani lamb and corn curry with stir fried greens (Dhs90), may have been the ugly duckling on the table, but it was practically licked clean. The small hunks of meat were tender and deliciously enveloped in a curried corn gravy with bok choy.
A menu then with a real capacity to surprise, and you get the feeling there is plenty more to come from the team as they get their feet under the table over the coming months. They have more than enough rivals to keep them on their toes of course, but you can see a genuine desire to create exciting dishes without using shortcuts. So, if you’re after trying something done a bit differently, or even just something done a bit better, look no further.
Park Hyatt Dubai, Tue to Sun 12.30pm to 3pm and 6.30pm to 11pm. Tel: (0)4 602 1814. @cinnamonbazaardxb