We’d been recommended a curry house in Shanklin as worth a try, so for our next round of COVID-19-safe meals, we wondered if Cinnamon would be willing to deliver all the way to Ryde. It turned out that they would.
A polite chap arrived at our door and passed over a warm bag of delights. Inside we were pleased to find, as well as our order, a complementary poppadom and some of that green yoghurty stuff. Amazingly, there was no sign of the disposable salad that curry houses inexplicably include with every delivery. Does anyone actually open those meagre bags of watery minced raw onion? Surely their sole purpose is to be thrown out as soon as possible. Cinnamon obviously thinks they are not worth bothering with and we, and our organic bin, were glad.
The meal arrived in the standard plastic and foil containers. As lockdown two progresses we will have enough of these lidded takeaways boxes to link together and create our own floating pontoon across the Solent to Southsea. Except we won’t, because virus.
Cat swerved away from her usual mild curry standard. Instead she selected mint chicken from the ludicrously easy online ordering system. The chicken dish was served in a sauce created from visible dicings of onion, mint, spinach and coriander. Like all her favourites, Cat had chosen this particular curry as its sauce was described as creamy, but it was more like a light vegetable paste than a rich korma. There was plenty of chicken, and the sauce was certainly minty, with a good garlicky note.
The colourful story attached to Railgary Curry was enough to entice us to add it to our basket. According to the menu, this dish is a kind of street food found all over the Indian subcontinent in train stations. This must surely be what is usually known as Railway Curry: a dish that, unlike most classic British curry recipes, was actually created in India.
Railway Curry is a culinary throwback to the Raj, originally served on long-distance trains and designed to please the western palate. This style of Anglo-Indian cuisine is very much alive and, we are pleased to report, available in Shanklin.
Although the menu promised a dry curry it was actually delivered with a copious, tomato-rich sauce that was fresh-tasting and mild. This covered a stack of tandoori lamb chunks that, for once, were not overwhelmed by powerful spices.
Whilst it probably would have been a challenge to eat this dish with fingers on a busy Indian train, here it was an enjoyable meal that stood out from the usual standard curry fare not only with its interesting origin story, but with its light and subtle flavours.
Mint chicken £9.95
Railgary curry (Lamb) £10.95
Cauliflower bhaji £3.95
Bindi bhaji £3.95
Pilau rice £3.25
Plain naan £2.60
Delivery charge to Ryde: £3
The bindi bhaji side dish was a huge pile of spiced okra, no skimping here with plenty of the aromatic green pods to go around. Similarly the cauliflower bhaji was almost enough to be a main dish, and like all the food from Cinnamon featured fresh ingredients and no sign of those sad greasy slicks that lesser curry houses sometimes drown their food with.
With plates mopped by fistfuls of floppy naan, and the last of the brittle poppadom snapped and shared, we patted our stomachs pleasantly satiated. The food was noticeably better than average, with generous portions and good-quality ingredients. Cinnamon offers traditional curries that you might expect from a seaside curry house, and the menu also has some more unusual and original dishes that are worth exploring. Maybe they will inspire thoughts of tangy street food eaten on dusty train journeys to far-away places, as we head into long dark nights in lockdown.
This is the full-length version of the review first published in the Isle of Wight County Press.
- Good, fresh food
- Will deliver to Ryde
- No onion salad
- Menu descriptions not entirely like what arrives