Most of my destinations are culled from conversations that I have with people while walking around. To my surprise, a significant percentage of the people that I have spoken with thus far are transplants to London. It’s fascinating to be able to hear such a diverse array of languages at any given time, and it feels like everyone here is as eager to discover more about the city as I am. A collective journey of discovery if you will.
Brick Lane was one such destination, as was the Cinnamon Club, a distinctly Londoner Indian fusion restaurant that has assimilated the Westminster Public Library.
The place is an enigma. Located just a few short blocks away from Westminster Abbey (and Big Ben a few more) the Cinnamon Club stands in an extraordinarily well preserved building near the heart of what many consider London’s most iconic destinations.
A tourist trap of its own, albeit a significantly more expensive one. Yet I have been unable to decide if the restaurant is an anti-colonial triumph of reverse diaspora, part of the reason why districts such as brick lane exist in the state that they do, or somewhere in between. After speaking at length with the former head chef turned operations manager, Hari Nagaraj, it’s clearly much more than either.
A passion project of extraordinary culinary skill, the food at the Club was superb (if you’re looking for somewhere unique in London, this is way up there). It’s also the kind of place that could only exist where such a high degree of cultural commingling is embraced.
In fact, that’s quickly becoming my favorite part about London and the reason I fully intend to spend more time in the City proper next week.
In the coming days, join me in Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, Bath, and further down the pastoral rabbit hole of Britain’s literary giants.