INDIAN cuisine is one of my favourites and I always find a guaranteed menu pleaser even for the fussiest of eaters.
Ali and I are not fussy at all when it comes to food but after sampling several Indian restaurants, have come to expect the same types of dishes on menus and shamefully have gotten used to ordering the same type of dishes every time.
I fully expected to have to review another korma then when I was asked to visit Cinnamon Spice Club, in Trimdon, County Durham.
However, pulling up to the restaurant; my expectations started to change as we were greeted with a red carpet and a grand white building with pillars and all – I actually thought we were entering a posh hotel rather than a restaurant.
Walking through the doors we entered a champagne bar with the hustle and bustle of people enjoying a drink while smartly-dressed waiters were on hand to show us to our table.
They took our coats and led us through a thick curtain revealing a brighter restaurant full of the buzz of a Saturday night.
We were seated at a table for two in a quiet corner with comfortable chairs and it was all quite cosy even if the tables were a little too close together for my liking.
We ordered our drinks – designated driver Ali had a ginger ale and lime while I chose a glass of the rose – and the manager happily chatted through the menu with us taking in all our likes and dislikes.
We were actually presented with two menus – an a la carte and an executive one – the last one we were told took two years to complete so it had to be that one we ordered from as our interest was spiked as we tucked into some traditional poppadoms (60p each) and mixed relishes (£1.20 per person).
Browsing through the executive menu it was easy to see how much work had gone into it as we found ourselves contemplating dishes we would never have imagined.
For starters we decided to share the Exclusive Spice Club Special Platter and the Cinnamon Spice Club Seafood Platter (both £6.95).
These were by far my favourite dishes of the night as both came beautifully presented on long white plates with each element a work of art on its own.
The seafood platter was imaginative in its elements of lobster, white fish and muscles while a small piece of salmon which was full of flavour and mouth-wateringly good was by far my favourite.
Ali’s special platter also had a good selection of meats from chicken tikka to Shish Kebab and Paneer (Homemade Cheese Grilled in the Tandoori Oven) that complemented the meats.
I was truly blown away by this starter considering it was so different to what is normally available on an Indian menu and was looking forward to the main course.
We ordered a Duck Aam Delight, described as a breast of duck cooked in a special cream masala sauce with mango (£14.95) and Chicken Murgh – a tomato and onion-based dish (£13.95) - as well as garlic and coriander rice (£4.95) and a nan basket of three of the chef’s choice of nan breads (£10.95).
When the mountain of food came it was hard to fit it all on the table but with a bit of shifting around we managed.
Again both curries came in big white dishes and were good portions although the meat to sauce ratio was a bit unbalanced.
Saying that this allowed extra sauce for mopping up with the nan breads which came with a good selection of chilli, peshwari and honey-drizzled peshwari.
The honey nan was my favourite as it complimented the duck sauce and the duck itself was perfectly tender.
Ali described his chicken as really juicy and flavoursome although he was slightly surprised by the lack of spice in the sauce considering it was in the medium spice range.
We did our best to polish off all the food but were sadly beaten and my traditional dessert space had been filled by that last slice of nan bread I just could not resist.
So unfortunately dessert was off the menu although a couple sitting next to us did order a chocolate sundae which I am determined to sample on another occasion.
The only down-side to our visit was a slight confusion with our drinks orders. The original glass of rose I ordered originally came as a red and had to be sent back while trying to order a coke at the end of the meal took at three attempts from different staff and we were billed twice for one drink.
Saying that the manager was very apologetic when I pointed this out and I could put this down to it being a very busy Saturday night service.
So all-in-all I would highly recommend this Indian – it’s easy to see why it’s so popular with both local residents and those who live further afield.
FOOD QUALITY: 8
ADVERTISER FACT FILE
Cinnamon Spice Club
TYPE: Indian restaurant and champagne bar
Where: Salters Lane, Trimdon, County Durham.
Contact: 0142-988-2082 email@example.com
Open: Lunch served Saturday, Sunday and Monday from noon until 2pm and dinner Monday to Wednesday 5pm until 11pm and Thursday to Sunday, 5.30pm until 11pm.
Food offer: Indian cuisine.
Cheap and cheerful: Chicken korma (£8.95)
Top dollar: Fillet steak (£16.95)
Specials: Chef’s Special Tables (Four-course meal to suit your palette) (£49.95 for two or £95 for four people)
Scores on the doors (food hygiene rating): 3 (Generally Satisfactory)