By Elliott Fulton
Veganism. I had never really understood it. The trend of Veganuary all sounded a bit faddy. Cutting out meat I managed, but all other animal products, felt like a step too far. Where would the flavour come from without dairy or fat? The few vegan dishes I have ordered always felt like an afterthought on the menu; something the chef had put there just to tick a box. So the prospect of a Vegan Supper Club at Cinnamon Kitchen City, led by one of London’s top vegan influencers, The Little London Vegan, intrigued me.
Executive Chef Vivek Singh’s refined approach to Indian cuisine has shaped the way we think about Indian food. It has challenged perceptions and opened our eyes to a world of flavour and textures far detached from that gloopy red sauce in a takeaway carton that I associate with the Indian food of my youth. Always at the forefront of Indian cooking, he has now put his innovative and modern style on a vegan tasting menu.
True to the Cinnamon Collection style, the menu showcased quality seasonal ingredients, each dish complex and surprising. Flavours were punchy with the strong Indian spicing being carefully subdued by sweet kicks from mango and pomegranate. A crisp zucchini flower was stuffed with soft and sticky tamarind glazed vegetables, a perfect play on textures. The standout dish was the unusual snake gourd, baked and crispy flesh with a squash-like bite, filled with fenugreek and bitter melon and coated in a rich bittersweet sauce. I tried to find a dish that felt like it needed that meat or fatty element, but had I not been told it was a vegan menu, I wouldn’t have known any different.
The London dining scene is constantly evolving and veganism is right at the front of it. It’s exciting, fresh and encouraging chefs to think differently and be more creative. Cinnamon Kitchen City is showing that you don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy this food, so open your mind and give it a try.