The joy of a creative new restaurant is that it offers wild and glorious adventures right here at home.
Cinnamon Club took off from the outset - which was a hole-in-the-wall affair in the little Norwood backstreet beside the thriving Argo.
Word soon spread that it was offering something really special, that it had links to one of the city's most renowned Indian restaurants, that its prices were fair...
The next thing one knows, it has more than quadrupled in size by moving into the large Norwood Parade premises which used to be the Malaysian fusion restaurant, Hazara.
With a massive mural on one wall, a sparking bar and a snazzy lounge waiting area at the front, it bustles with new life and an array of mainly Indian female wait staff who zip, zap and are as informed and helpful as they are efficient.
Word does not take long to travel in Adelaide. My first attempt to book a table there was thwarted by the “sorry, we're booked out" response. Silly me. It was Saturday. Next attempt was spontaneous. We walked in off the street early on a week night evening and were welcomed to a lovely table for two.
Straight away, the impression is warm and relaxing.
Wine and water were ordered and swiftly delivered as we perused the massive menu wherein we discovered that, had we been inclined, we could have prefaced the meal with astonishing cocktails. Oh, what an array - Cinnamon Club Fireball, Punjabi Fling, Indian Mystery, Cinnamon Club Painkiller, Indian Raj...
Fortunately, the wine list also is pleasing with interesting French wines in amongst a quality South Australian selection.
Slightly overwhelmed by the generous options of the menu, we sought advice from our waiter, who, without hesitation, recommended the starter speciality of the house, Roasted Papadum Rolls with stuffings of chicken or paneer. We chose one of each. They came with shot glasses of lovely hot soup - slow cooked lamb trotter or South Indian Tomato Pepper Broth.
The papadums came as delicate, crispy cones, stuffed to the brim with light, flavoursome filling; the paneer was fresh and delicate; the trotter shot had a classic lamb flavor in a lightness of fluid.
A triumphant start.
The restaurant was filling up steadily but the hubub was tolerable and the staff seemed to be nurturing the needs of every table. One could hear careful explanations of exotic foods and a thoughtful pairing of dishes to the tastes of "not-too-hot-please" and "let-me-sweat" customers.
Many variations on a theme of street food feature on the menu - Keema Pao on toast, Tangy Chickpea curry, Chaat choices, fish in three styles...
Avid chili-lovers, we zeroed in on Four Faces of Vindaloo. Our waitress approved and suggested we contrast this with the gentler flavours of the Duck with Fig Sauce curry. Another wise and wonderful recommendation.
The vindaloos were presented in a raised platter popped in the centre of the table. The chicken curry was peppery and moreish. The beef was dense and delicious. The beetroot lamb in its thick red sauce was unbearably delicious and we found ourselves jealously guarding our shares, albeit the lamb was a bit chewy. The fourth face of vindaloo was a stuffed green chili. It was rather a surprise - tangy and not too hot.
As for the duck with its blessing of fig flavour, it had a subtle sweetness that did not cloy, a creamy sauce that did not feel too rich and plenty of duck for two. All this with a small amount of rice and some light raita left us feeling cosy, contented but not too replete to miss sampling the dessert menu.
Hence, we chose the Chef's Choice Mixed Platter for two which featured two sensational kulfis, a classic Indian sweet carrot dish and, oh my, who would have imagined it? Chocolate samosas.
I could never have thought of anything more appallingly rich, unlikely and unapproachable and I would never have ordered it of my own accord. Now I can't wait to go back and have it again, and again. This hot, fried pastry, quite light and delicately crisped on the outside, was filled with absolutely the best quality of gorgeous dark, hot, melty chocolate. One tried to make it last and last, to savour it and wish it would never end. What a surprise it was - yet another guarantee that one would return.
Then menu is extensive. The prices are reasonable - mains from about $14 - $20
Where: 211 The Parade, Norwood, SA 5067
Trading: Tuesday to Saturday 12pm til late
Sundays 5pm til late
Contact: (08) 8431 3311
Min free delivery $35
Online orders accepted