Archive review: Cinnamon, Ryde

This is an archive review. Cinnamon has now closed and has been replaced by Island Spice.

Cinnamon, Ryde

Heston Blumenthal's laboratory kitchen, what's that all about, eh? Who in their right mind really wants to pay ninety quid for a taste of snail porridge or egg and bacon flavour ice cream? Oak flavoured crisps? Leather mashed potato? To your reviewers, salmon poached in liquorice is not imagined to be the stuff of a Good Meal Out.

There's a far more reliable way to get some really exciting tastes and smells on the your plate. Good Indian cuisine can be guaranteed to have interesting - and satisfyingly tried and tested - combinations of flavours, textures and aromas to tempt the most unsophisticated of olfactory organs. And, if you really think the whiff of leather would enhance your eating experience, you can always go to Cinnamon, in Ryde's Union Street, and inhale the aroma given off by the new chairs.

This sleek addition to Ryde's ever-expanding number of eating out venues offers a marked contrast to its previous incarnation as the extraordinarily well-stocked Bloomsbury antique shop. Gone are the stuffed birds, tapestries and crystal lampshades; in their place is discreet window frosting, recessed lighting and the aforementioned leather thrones.

Follow up:

Having failed to even get a seat last week, being forced to take their custom to Yelfs, Matt and Cat took no chances and arrived at Cinnamon quite early in the week and early in the evening. This uncharacteristic promptness won them a table for two in this popular new establishment. So keen are people to try this eatery that, according to the waiter, any desire to eat there on a Saturday night must be anticipated at least a week in advance - and that's with two sittings, in winter. To underline this and as a pointer to those ordering takeaways, on another occasion Matt and Cat pre-ordered their food an hour early but still had a twenty-minute wait. Cinnamon is popular, no doubt about it.

As Matt and Cat took their seats, and before the waiter had time to flick their napkins over their laps, the place started to fill up. A couple of 'scene' kids, some cosy couples and a family group provided a chattering backdrop. The restaurant also has a takeaway service; several punters came and went during the evening, clutching their bags of spicy fare.

The masala was creamy but without being artery-worryingly oleaginous.

Cinnamon appears, at first glance, to have the trappings of an off-the-peg neo-Indian. Recessed lighting in pinky hues? Yup. Orchids in glass vases? There, on the bar. Smartly uniformed staff? You got it. All standard, and none the worse for it. But there's a hard-to-define difference about this restaurant. In place of the usual ethnic tapestries, the walls were decorated with a few large abstract canvasses. Look down at the floor expecting the inevitable wood laminate, and reflective black tiles return your pleasantly surprised face.

The menu was presented and designer Cat fondled its satiny texture whilst admiring its photography. Matt meanwhile was reading the contents; many of the dishes had pleasingly exotic names such as chingri sabji (stir-fried shrimps), hash makhoni (tandoori grilled duck) and bhutta hara pyazz (stir-fried baby corn, mushroom and spring onion with spices). A simply-labelled section of 'old favourites' included the inevitable korma, madras, and the like, but otherwise the menu appeared to be quite a departure. However, closer examination suggested that possibly some more 'old favourites' had been smuggled in under alternative names: was moglai murgh that old friend, chicken moglai? So it seemed; the careful explanations in the menu made all clear. Matt threw caution to the winds and ordered gosht sagwala: lamb with spinach, fenugreek, herbs and spices and a hint of butter. Cat cleaved to her custom and chose murgh tikka masala: yes, by now Matt and Cat had worked out that murgh meant chicken.

Gosht sagwala with vegetable bhajee
Gosht sagwala

Whilst perusing the bill of fare, Matt and Cat nibbled on poppadums and chutneys. Here again, Cinnamon broke away from tradition, substituting the usual lime pickle with an orange-coloured shredded coconut. Very nice.

Without much delay, the main meals arrived with a flourish. A brace of waiters with a trolley loaded with various napkins and cloths, cutlery and lighted heaters, descended on the table and, in a blur of activity almost invisible to the eye, the food was arrayed enticingly in front of the diners. And a excellent display it made. An exciting-looking side dish of mixed vegetables was flanked by Cat's tomato-red tikka masala which provided an excellent visual contrast to the green spinach of Matt's lamb sagwala. All this plus an undulating naan. As well as appearing splendid, this stuff was tasty, full of texture, and certainly a cut above the average Indian. Matt and Cat ate with pleasure, relishing a really good meal. Cat's chicken was so tender it almost dissolved on the tongue and, unlike some other establishments, the masala was creamy but without being artery-worryingly oleaginous.

Relaxing after the meal and awaiting the bill, they discussed how, in an Indian restaurant the art of fine, if impersonal, service is often at its acme. One can admire the skill and panache of the waiters, delivering food and clearing plates with effortless, yet almost mechanical, grace. Banter is kept to a minimum, if tolerated at all - and never presume to rearrange the tableware yourself! It's all got to be just so. Pleasingly, there are exceptions and, at Cinnamon, Matt and Cat's waiter did unbend at the end of the evening, allowing himself a few moments enjoyable chat with his guests. When he then presented the bill your reviewers were pleased by the modest prices. For a place that's packed to the rafters most weekends, this is good value. It's to be hoped that they can keep this up all summer, too.

Finally, in the tiniest writing at the bottom of the stylish menu is the legend, "The management of Cinnamon Restaurant reserves the right to refuse service to anyone without explanation". So, while such great Indian restaurants continue to thrive: Heston 'Duck à la Toilet Duck' Blumenthal, you can keep your leather to yourself, thank you. No explanation needed.

This is an archive review. Cinnamon has now closed and has been replaced by Island Spice.

 Published: 13th March 2008
Categories: We like, Take aways, Family friendly, Ryde, Indian

38 comments (newest first)

Comment from: Charlotte Pacy

I think this review needs updating. We went there for valentines day and arrived to an empty restaurant playing awful 80s music. We were asked if we’d like some poppadoms which we did and found that on the bill we had been charged for them AND £1.50 for some chutney! We werent told we were going to be charged so inevitably we were quite annoyed especially as £1.50 seems quite expensive for chutney! I had a korma which was a very small portion and was not served with rice. My partner had lamb which was again a tiny portion and shouldnt be considered a main in my eyes. Both of them were delicious but not big enough and far too expensive for what you got. The drinks are also extortionate and i was freezing throughout the meal because there seemed to be no heating on!

Matt and Cat respond: Quite right Charlotte; this review refers to the previous establishment, not Island Spice which now trades there. We’ll archive this review until we can do a new piece on the new venue.

18/02/13 @ 11:45
Comment from: da yw wyth

Sampled the place tonight - all very nicely done, and pleasant service. Food was prepared to a good standard, but the dish I had somehow missed the “wow” factor. I shall continue to go to Eastern Eye in Ventnor if I feel like something special…

18/08/12 @ 22:03
Comment from: Graham

Yes, spotted this tonight - as well as my earlier comment about the Bombay Palace during our evening stroll.
Is it still the same good staff at the Island Spice?

24/07/12 @ 23:33
Comment from: MikeW  

So it is now Island Spice….I never went before (although others I know spoke well of it), but I can say it was a really nice meal - Wednesday special - our large group tried many different dishes and all were delicious! Highly recommended, and ludicrously cheap!

19/07/12 @ 10:45
Comment from: ellie

Thankyou for making us girls have a really enjoyable night. The food and staff was excellent as well as the special drinks. The service was amazing, especially sayed, we appreciate you lot putting up with us for the evening, love the girls..

04/05/12 @ 21:58
Comment from: andy M

another great takeaway from the cinnamon same standards as eating in great food great taste great value. Tried a number on the island this is the only one i’d recommend

26/04/12 @ 22:03
Comment from: mandy  

just had a take away from cimmamon for the first time. usually go to monsoon but after a walk along the sea front saw the matt and cat sticker on the way up union street we decided to give them a go. feel really surprised reading the previous reviews as there’s no way i would go here again. on paying i was surprised (and rather impressed) that the bill for our usual was £10 cheaper than monsoon. on getting home and dishing up our meals i was amazed up how much oil was floating on the passanda and when taking a bite of my partners mekahni i really believed they had made a mistake as both sauces taste the same. i wish i had spent the £10 extra and gone a bit further up the high street. on the plus side the bhajis where lovely. from everything said in the other reviews maybe i caught them on a bad night.

11/03/12 @ 19:57
Comment from: Matt

Visited Cinnamon for the first time with friends a few weeks back, must say was very impressed with the decor and service. Food was great and as the owner had been a customer at my business we were given a free round of drinks after we had paid our bill. Enjoyed the experience and will be returning

17/11/11 @ 16:38
Comment from: sniggup

Moving into the autumn (despite the weather) and still taking our regular takeway from the Cinnamon, always excellent flavours, satifying portions, outstanding service, good value for money. We know these boys will retain their high standards throughout the winter! Yum.

30/09/11 @ 08:39

Fantastic! Just one word to describe our experience last night. Will be returning with friends in the not too distant future!

12/08/11 @ 15:11
Comment from: sniggup

I have said it before and I am sure I will say it again, Cinnamon is The Best! Tonight, we ordered a takeaway, to prepare for another long night…after another long day, it took less than twenty minutes from the time of order, very efficient and extremely courteous service, as always, even though I am just picking up. The place is immaculate, the staff wonderful, food even better. One negative: seems a shame they have had to reduce their prices, we always thought it was excellent value for money anyway…Well Done Gents, keep up the good work! and charge a bit more!!

06/08/11 @ 19:36
Comment from: plaban

I will recommend every one Cinnamon because of their great food, friendly staff and exceptional hospitality. Nice location and awesome food making the difference and of course the indoor interior is commendable.

Hope you all enjoy the Awesome Restaurant, all of it,everything.

01/08/11 @ 12:47
Comment from: sniggup

Sunday Banquet for eight this evening at Cinnamon, ’twas great, as usual, thanks Mr Cinnamon.

04/07/11 @ 00:06
Comment from: Gareth

Had my first takeaway tonight from Cinnamon. I was very pleased with the quality and price of the food. They even do delivery now. I would recommend to anyone to give this restaurant a try. Nice decor too.

03/07/11 @ 01:16
Comment from: Chris

June 2011 and friends from India are visiting, guess what ….. Yep Cinnamon here we came and well l knew this would be a test. Silly me l know how they operate slick, cool, not in your face, they do not harass you and the service EXCELLENT along with the FOOD. You may have spoken to me as l am the guy travelling from London Waterloo on Fridays and when l talk to people who are coming to the island……. Cinnamon IS a must


09/06/11 @ 23:33
Comment from: Andy M  

Having been on the island since 2002 it wasn’t until Cinnamon opened that we had a decent curry and being from Birmingham we do know a decent curry !!
The food is as good today as the first time we went both eating in and takeaway. I prefer my indian food very mild whilst my partner prefers the hotter varity and both ends of the spectrum are well cooked and well presented. In the £ years of eating in Cinnamon never have we suffered from any suggestion of an upset stomach as a result of attending the restuarant. If You like Indian food or would like an introduction to the Indian food I would highly recommend trying Cinnamon

21/05/11 @ 21:07
Comment from: chris  

I have been eating in and had many deliveries, every time the food has been of the highest standard, l work in London and EU, believe me this restaurant will take some beating. The consistency and quality of the food is excellent, service as one would expect and value spot on. l rave on about this restaurant so much to my friends. Trust me it will be an experience and like me become a regular

28/04/11 @ 23:24
Comment from: Mike

After returning from a lovely evening at cinnamon in ryde I can now say the food I had was spot on. I had one of the best chicken jalfrezi I’ve ever had. My wife had a mild moglai chicken and she loved it. The restaurant was busy with a great aptmosphere. The staff were very friendly and polite and I will definetly be returning.

08/04/11 @ 21:46
Comment from: kj

I prefer Maharajas (now The Spice Lounge), Shanklin….but we have a great variety of Indian resteraunts on the Island

05/04/11 @ 17:21
Comment from: martin

Interesting reading and comments on many IOW restaurants, I feel I must also leave a comment regarding the Cinnamon Restaurant in Ryde, I have eaten there on many occasions and always recommend it to friends and visitors alike. It’s not often you can find authentic well cooked and presented Indian cuisine and those that have eaten at Cinnamon will know what I mean they are many notches up on the other establishments in the East Wight area and I would go as far to say probably the Island as a whole. They are always so friendly and pleased to see you whatever time of year whether it’s busy or quiet. If you haven’t tried it you should because once you have, you won’t eat Indian from anywhere else. Well done you guys keep up the good work and big thanks to all those behind the scenes in the kitchen. Can’t wait to see you again soon

05/04/11 @ 14:58
Comment from: sniggup

We have been eating in / and having takeaways from Cinnamon since it opened, the staff are lovely, the food is delicious and fairly priced. We love the Tandoori in Ryde too but the service is a little hit and miss at times, our families from Scotland and the states look forward to eating in our two fine indians everytime they visit. We are so lucky to have two great indian restaurants on our doorstep, they blow Olivio’s, Liberty’s, Joes, Yan Woo etc out of the Union St competition for a good all round eating experience! If you want to eat something nice and not Indian you have to go to Ventnor!

05/04/11 @ 11:15
Comment from: ana

I often eat at this establishments on a girls night out on a Saturday night. Not only is it always busy but the service and food you get is consistent and excellent, I would recommend cinnamon to anyone who loves a good curry.

05/04/11 @ 10:51
Comment from: Josh

I went to Cinnamon last saturday with 5 friends and i was glad i booked earlier as there wasn’t a free table in sight. We had a great time and i experimented with a hot lamb curry for the first time. (I usually go for something medium) I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t over the top, burn your face off, hot but instead delicious and really full of flavor. We all agreed that this was one of the best currys we have had on the island. I will definitely be coming back again, maybe for the buffet on a monday which seems a reasonable price with a good selection of different currys.

04/04/11 @ 22:54
Comment from: Wendy V

Thumbs up again for Cinnamon - I ate there with friends a few nights ago (4 adults, 2 children), and we were all happy customers. I copied my veggie friends in going “off menu” and had vegetable marsala with paneer cheese (I think next time I won’t bother with the paneer, as the dish was tasty and filling enough without it). My son wolfed down his vegetable korma. Basmati rice was perfectly fluffy. Tried a little of my friends’ side dishes - sag aloo, and a spiced cauliflower dish - also excellent. Good service, nice wine, and a relaxed atmosphere in which to chat. Thoroughly enjoyable.

23/01/11 @ 12:53
Comment from: Ian Wright

Possibly the best Indian Meal I have ever had - and I have sailed with Indian Crew at Sea - if you get the chance try it - you wont be disappointed.

22/11/10 @ 18:44
Comment from: Cpt. Carling

We ate here last Friday evening at about 7pm. We were lucky to get a table as the place was fully booked. apart from the table next to us, the rest of the customers were youngsters. Whilst there the next Birthday party turned up - once again, about 10 young ladies, all about 21.

They were all well behaved and I was impressed to see that a 21st Birthday Party doesn’t involve drinking till your eyes bleed and ending up in the gutter!

As for the food, it was OK. Nothing special, but not bad. We will try this place again.

22/01/10 @ 17:46
Comment from: G Jordan

Did not enjoy our eating experience. Had to wait a long time for food to arrive, and when we asked how much longer it would take, was told patronisingly by the waiter,as he patted my arm, that good food took time. Well, that may be so, but when my king prawn korma finally arrived - it was dreadful. It was like tasteless foaming butter and I had to abandon it after a couple of mouthfuls. My partner abandoned hers about halfway through, charitably saying we must have chosen the wrong dishes. After expressing our disappointment, we became invisible and the atmosphere was, to say the least, not great. In spite of its sauve veneer, I found the place to be very superficial and would definitely not recommend, or visit again

28/11/09 @ 20:34
Comment from: D

Sorry it’s taken over a year to update you but better late than never! I went to Cinnamon for my wife’s birthday last year and I must say big kudos goes to the restaurant manager who went above and beyond the norm to make my wife’s birthday special. Before the event I contacted the restaurant to explain the booking was for a 30th birthday and to enquire if it was possible to supply a birthday cake which they were happy to do. On the day as I remember the food and service were excellent (even for the non-spicy food eater who had the obligatory omelette) - part way through the restaurant manager discretely approached me to let me know the cake had been arranged and to say he would give me the nod just before they brought it out to kick-start a chorus of Happy Birthday. Everything went just as planned thanks to the great service and my wife’s birthday was a roaring success. The cake itself was a nice moist spongecake and a pretty hefty size too - so considering my gamble of leaving it in their hands I was impressed. At the end of the meal when we were sorting out the bill the manager approached to say the cake was on him. These guys obviously care about their customers and their food is great - they always get my business when I’m in need of a spice-fix in Ryde and I would suggest they should get your business too!

09/11/09 @ 03:39
Comment from: Wendy

First visit to Cinnamon last night for a friend’s birthday, with a large group. Really enjoyed it. Friendly service - especially accommodating when, at the end of the meal my friend asked if they’d play her Greek CD (she’d originally been thinking of booking the Village Taverna in Sandown, but rumours of its resurrection seem unreliable as there was no-one answering the phone). She stopped short of insisting on the waiters dancing or smashing plates.
Food was great. I had vegetable tikka masala (possibly the most orange dish I’ve ever eaten, but utterly delicious), with basmati rice. Ian had something with lamb - forget the name - and was similarly impressed.
My friends decided that Baileys with ice would substitute for pudding, as they were too full for dessert, but at that point Ian and I had to come home and pay the babysitter, so we left them to it.
A very jolly meal. Would happily return.

20/09/09 @ 22:27

cinnamon is my mums brothers resrtaunt!!! so he owns it!!! lucky me!!!! lol!!!

27/08/09 @ 11:36
Comment from: linda bassett

Eaten here few times and have enjoyed it on each ocassion. Would reccomend it to all.

25/03/09 @ 16:46
Comment from: Shirley V

Dined here for the third time last week and all six of us agreed its the best Indian restaurant on the island. One of our party ia a taxi-driver and tells us he constantly hears good comments about Cinnamon.
Try the aubergine side-dish - its to die for! (Ditto the peshwari naan mmmmmmm…)

21/08/08 @ 21:50
Comment from: tanim

It is the worst restaurent ever, rubbish, wasted my money.

Matt and Cat enquire: why?

26/07/08 @ 23:36
Comment from: D

Since Cinnamon opened I have used it twice for takeaways and found them to be superb. One of the acid-tests for me is a good quality naan - I opted for a sag (spinach-filled) naan (never seen one of these on a menu before!) for my first meal and was very pleasantly surprised. Moist with a subtle sweetness just the way a good naan should be.

Moist with a subtle sweetness just the way a good naan should be.

The curries did not disappoint either - my wife and I have now sampled four and they were all equally delicious. Many Indian restaurants seem to base their curries around one sauce with a few variations. Not here however - every one is unique and the ingredients taste very fresh. The only downside for me was the same as for ‘TJW’ - The Dhal did indeed appear to have only one type of lentil (I may be wrong) and is not a main course in itself. As a side dish with some nice chapatti’s (not on the menu?) to scoop it up though - it would be very pleasant. Booked almost the restaurant for my wife’s birthday later this month so heres hoping they can cope with over 20 people all wanting feeding at the same time! I’ll keep you posted.

19/05/08 @ 10:53
Comment from: TJW

A party of six of us had a meal at Cinnamon last weekend. We were lucky enough to reserve a table on the Saturday afternoon for the same evening.

Everyone was very impressed with their meals except me unfortunately. I changed my mind several times, and probably should have gone with my first selection of Vegetable Biryani , but thought I’d try something different and went for the ’special’ 5 lentil Dhal. However, I could only find 1 kind of lentil, it was rather soup-like and the only ’special’ feature seemed to be the copious amounts of coriander.

On the whole the staff were attentive and polite, however the first waiter upset me a little over the starters order where I felt he should have given more guidance. Also, the Bill was delivered to our table before we has requested it which was a bit of a shame.

The atmosphere was nice, and food was good value. Hungry people were being regularly turned away throughout the evening because the place was full - which must be a good sign.

18/04/08 @ 10:51
Comment from: Madeline

Went here for the first time last night and it’s the best Indian food I’ve had in ages. Really lovely stuff with flavours that complimented each other beautifully, tender meat, well presented and great service from a lovely staff in an attractively decorated modern setting. I will be going back again and again after this.

However, my acid test failed and it’s the one thing that always lets these places down. The horrible dessert menu with it’s photographs of bought-in puds that taste of nothing. Indian cuisine offers the most lovely puddings but restaurants rarely if ever make them themselves. Homemade kulfi is one of the delights of Indian dining - please - someone - start producing your own in-house puddings!

11/04/08 @ 08:14
Comment from: Graeme

I have eaten here several times since it opened and have never been disappointed, makes a change from some of the other places I have been to expecting a good meal, I won’t mention any names… Beckie, it’s a shame that a mistake with your order on there first night and a couple of toilet signs (they are now in place) is stopping you from eating out at what many consider to be one of the best Indian restaurants on the island. Go on you know what they say; try try try again! ;)

26/03/08 @ 17:23
Comment from: Beckie  

I am so glad you had a great meal. My husband and I went on opening night (Valentines Night). It was terrible. It has put me off going there again. We were given another tables startersw and then when they brought the right ones, mine was cold. My meal was no where near anything like it was described on the menu. You had to guess which of the three white doors was Ladies and Gents as no signs had been put on to give you a clue. The waiter didn’t know the menu. The baby corn side vegetables where not available although we were not told this until after the order was taken.

The head waiter handled our complaint very well and did infact take a large amount off the bill, but I would have to be convinced to go there again….

18/03/08 @ 19:18

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