Marmite and a famed Indian chef? Do you need to ask me twice? NO!
Tonight I was lucky enough to try Vivek’s awe inspiring new menu – five courses ALL featuring the store cupboard staple in one way shape or form. Not just any old chef would have the guts to take on a full Marmite menu and do it justice. Especially not in my books… If you’ve been tucked away in a dark, dark place, Vivek is famed for his three Cinnamon restaurants; firstly Cinnamon Club (est 2001), Cinnamon Kitchen (est 2008) and last but not least Cinnamon Soho (est 2012) as well as being a regular guest on Masterchef and Saturday Kitchen. He knows a thing or two about curry – let’s put it that way! This was the first time that I have visited one of the Cinnamon group and surprisingly so as I am a big fan of Indian cuisine in particular.
First up, I’d best declare myself a bonafide Marmite fan. However, don’t let my judgement phase you – this menu is SUITABLE FOR HATERS!
A canapé of stir fried shrimp was served as a light nibble before taking our seats. Large fresh shrimp in a marmite butter with an unexpected spicy kick. The flesh was beautifully tender and welcomed the umami flavour of the marmite..
The Seared Fillet of Sea Bream with Kokum, Marmite and Curry Leaf Crust with Marmite Coconut Sauce (£14) was something to be contented with. A smattering of Cardamom seeds and a gloriously crispy skin really brought this dish to life. Despite what I first thought, Marmite is really very versatile! And we’re only on the second course of the evening..
Vivek joined us at the table where I asked what other fish he’d considered when creating this dish. He said, “Any plain or meaty fish would do, something that would balance the strength of the marmite and chilli…. Salmon would have also been a good choice”. He brushed off the new menu as if creating it came naturally (as I am sure it did for such a talented and modest character)..
Next up, Vivek’s favourite dish on the menu; Chilli and Peanut Crushed Chicken Breast with Marmite Korma Sauce (£14.50). A large piece of breast meat sat upon a thick marmite and peanut paste with steamed pak choi side (plus rice). Wow! The marmite within the sauce was subtle but noticeable and utterly moreish. Hands down my favourite dish and I will be asking for the recipe!
The Marmite and Honey, Chilli Garlic Naan (£3) was sticky, sweet and salty all at once. If only there had been more of it. I highly recommend you order a few of these to go around as no one will be willing to share..
Dessert, the Marmite Chocolate and Cardamom Mousse (£5.75), I was less enamored by, however I have never been one for chocolate, even if it is Marmite chocolate. Rather thick and buttery, every spoonful left a greasy residue on my lips that I just could not ignore. It was too indulgent for my liking but the caramelised bananas were perfectly crisp and not too sweet.
The best thing about this guest menu in particular is that all of the courses are priced individually, meaning you can mix and match between traditional curries on the house menu as well as being able to avoid courses that aren’t to your tastes. Another point to note was that none of the dishes that I tried during the evening were too spicy either, so perfectly suited to a milder palate.
To end this post, I shall cite Joanne O’Riada, Marmite spokesperson, as I could not put it better myself, this menu really is “second to naan”. I cannot wait to visit another of Vivek’s restaurants again. Quite sublime – five stars!
The Marmite menu will be available at Cinnamon Soho for £35 per person, until February 2014. Booking is recommended.
5 Kingly street
London W1B 5PF
T: 020 7437 1664