Interview – Vivek Singh | The Cinnamon Club Restaurant in London

6th October 2011
Alexandra Carrillo

Vivek Singh1 Interview Vivek Singh | The Cinnamon Club Restaurant in London

For foodies everywhere, The Cinnamon Club‘s participation has been one of the highlights.

But for Vivek Singh, Founding Chef & CEO, it’s not only a special week but a special year as he celebrates The Cinnamon Club’s 10th Anniversary.

Since its 2001 launch, Vivek has defined a pioneering food philosophy for which the restaurant is now so well known and allowed the launch of sister restaurant  and Anise in the City in 2008.

We caught up with Vivek to look into the early days and what’s made the concept such an enduring success.

The Cinnamon Club is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year. What would you say have been the key challenges in making it such a consistent success?

The key challenge for the Cinnamon Club in maintaining its success has been constant adaptation and evolution. When it opened in 2001, it was relatively easy to make an impact with a ground-breaking philosophy of food, innovative use of ingredients and spices, beautiful presentation and using the best quality local, seasonal produce.

However, with success came competition in the form of more restaurants following its success and style of cooking. On one hand it was a great thing for the Indian restaurant industry, but on the other it meant that we had to carry on experimenting and innovating to maintain our industry-leading position.

Having evolved menus over 10 years what has been your most unexpected flavour combination?

Tuna and Mango – I never thought it could work, and in all honestly can’t even remember how I came up with it. I was probably focusing on the nice colours… but once I tried it, it worked on every level: colour, flavour and texture. An unexpected but brilliant combination!

Going back to the early days why did you name your restaurant The Cinnamon Club?

There are several myths around it and I don’t know which one is true but my favourite goes like this. For those who are old enough to remember, The Cinnamon Club was a much anticipated and delayed restaurant opening. The project was delayed several times and we ran out of money on more than one occasion. We were quite close to opening but ran out of funds again and approached the banks for the umpteenth time. We told the Director looking after our account (whose surname was Cinnamon) that if he sanctioned the required funds and we managed to open, we would name it after him!

What do you have prepared for the London Restaurant Festival this year?
We are running two extremely interesting and great value menus at both The Cinnamon Club and Cinnamon Kitchen, but the bit I am most excited about is the AMEX Brit Dish menu on 9th October at The Cinnamon Club where I will be giving a Cinnamon Club twist to three all time British classics – Scotch Eggs, Fish & Chips, and Treacle Tart.

If you could cook with one chef on TV who would it be?
TV or not, I would love to cook with Marco Pierre White if it was ever a possibility! He has been a great influence on my career as a chef.