What: Brunch at Cinnamon Soho
Where: 5 Kingly St (just off Carnaby St), W1B 5PF
Price: Two courses for £20, drinks £8 each
Rating: FIVE STARS
Remember when brunch was luxurious? Me neither, but I’ve heard it once was – a rich, opulent extravagance reserved for the rich and lazy. Those must have been the days. Now that wonderful B-word conjures the ghastly sight of a platter of oozing fat, slathered in red and brown, to be stuffed into the pie-hole of the hungover, the desolate, the debauched ghoul of a heavy Sunday morning.
It was, therefore, a magnificent experience to eschew all of this in favour of Cinnamon Soho, where western brunch meets eastern lunch in a fascinating collision of colour and flavour. I must admit, feeling slightly heady of a Sunday morning I was suspicious of the idea of a spicy breakfast (“Bloody Mary, hold the Tabasco or hold my insides”) but my dining partner and I were wonderfully mistaken. Accompanied by a beautifully blended cinnamon Bellini, which we both agreed tasted “like Christmas”, my main course of tandoori chicken, tomato and green chilli 3-egg omelette was perfectly cooked to order, light yet wholesome, served on crispy brown toast with a delicious spiced vegetable purée and salad garnish. My companion’sBombayscrambled eggs were pleasingly buttery and runny, with a slight but satisfying kick of spice to finish.
Ashley stuck with another Bellini, whilst I test-drove the Red Phoenix – the house twist on the Bloody Mary, with cinnamon and coriander adding real depth of flavour to the traditional “red hot tomato” affair.
This really did feel like a throwback to luxurious brunch, topped off by the inclusion of desserts on the Sunday brunch menu. Not just any desserts, mind you. These were superb. An impossibly thin, slightly crispy, slightly chewy date pancake served with a burst of ginger ice cream; 4 wafer-like pastry rolls filled with sweet carrot halwa, served with cinnamon ice cream, decadent but light-as-air, warm, crispy, and sweet meeting creamy and cool, leaving me clamouring for more.
We left with smiles on our faces, slightly tipsy, pleasingly full but without an ounce of stodginess or guilt, ready to take on what remained of the weekend. Exactly how a good brunch should leave one feeling.
So a refreshing departure from the done-to-death full English, and, at £20 for two courses, a worthwhile, if occasional, way to beat the hangover and get back on that horse. Brunchurious is back.