Playing Holi in the City at Cinnamon Kitchen 7-18 March 2017 www.cinnamon-kitchen.com
Anita gets painted every colour of the rainbow as Holi hits London.
Holi traditionally marks the the fertile season’s wondrous colours with families throwing vivid powders at eachother. Cinnamon Kitchen in the City is offering punters a chance to play paint chucking in its special outdoor pod for 30 minutes with a cocktail, Indian snacks and a meal.
In the pod – a bit like a white photo studio – executive chef Vivek Singh starts hostilities with two Adam Ant-style red stripes on my cheek. I respond with a passive-aggressive sluice of yellow down his side.
At first everyone’s polite, dabbing a shoulder here and sprinkling a back with puce. Then a riot of lime greens, lemons and cerise bursts out. Long-festering wounds are lanced and soon ears are belted with deepest purple or faces slathered with orange. My eye-lashes are orange, my hair is rainbow.
For a wallflower like me, this is actually good fun and a great way to burn off energy before our five-course meal. If you’re bothered by such things, wear your oldest clothes but the paints, made from cornflour and natural dyes, do wash out.
Cinnamon Kitchen offers various packages but the five-course meal at £38 one seems a winner. First sip a cocktail at adjoining Bar Anise such as the Bahaan Lasso, an aptly-coloured flourescent blue vodka that tastes of violets.
Do this while nibbling such “Holi bites” as lamb shammi kebab or golguppa. Then get on down with the paint flinging. Next try a starter of something like my spiced seabream with green mango and coconut chutney – well contrasting flavours and delicate spicing on firm fish. Or the delicious king prawns in coconut malai curry.
Then there’s a “deconstructed” main of chargrilled fillet of Kentish lamb, done Western-style in that it’s cooked separately to the sauce, cooked Eastern-style in that the sauce is from Madras – but make sure if you want medium rare it’s not as pinky as mine was.
And finish with a flight of fig and nutmeg kulfi, gulab jamun and coconut rice kheer. Just remember to wash before you swagger back through public transport, so as not to frighten the children.
House of Holi at Cinnamon Kitchen, Devonshire Square London runs from Tuesday 7 March-Saturday 18 March with tickets ranging from £8-£38. Book soon as tickets are running out fast. www.cinnamon-kitchen.com/house-of-holi-2017/