As the nearest Indian restaurant to two marinas and three yacht clubs, the path to this eatery is one well-beaten by the boating community. Take it away, Phil Sampson...
Spicy food has always been a favourite of mine so I always look forward to a visit to an Indian restaurant. Whether it’s to eat in or, as in this case, pick up a takeaway, the promise of a meal I’ll probably regret the following morning keeps me coming back time after time. The only reservation I have is that all too often the food from one Indian restaurant looks and tastes like that from so many others.
While I have no problem that every slice of naan bread I’ve ever seen appears to have been modelled on the same bicycle saddle, I do like a bit of individuality when it comes to the main dishes. So for this visit to Cinnamon Bay, which describes itself as a friendly long-standing restaurant serving traditional Indian cuisine, I decided to go a little off-piste in my usual menu selection and choose something I’d never had before.
That something turned out to be a Jalaiya Agnipath. Not only had I never had it before, I’d never heard of it either. If I’d looked it up beforehand, I might have been slightly more circumspect. For ‘Jalaiya’ is a name of Hindu origin which means, ‘One who ignites change’ while ‘Agni’ is a Sanskrit word for fire.
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I didn’t look up the ‘path’ bit, but having now experienced this extraordinarily hot meal – which I presume they store bolted to the floor in locked lead boxes – the remains of my frazzled taste buds tell me it has to be somthing akin to the ‘path’ in psychopath.
Prior to this episode of self-inflicted (but rather tasty) torture, I opted for that tried-and-tested starter, the Tandoori Chicken Quarter. This dish takes me back to my point about
similar looking and tasting meals. Somewhere must roam hoards of identical mini-chicks, all destined to be chopped into four with their little legs ending up in a starter replicated by every Indian restaurant in the land.
It is said that you should never judge a book by its cover, and Cinnamon Bay is certainly a case in point here. Housed in modest premises, it’s the sort of place you could easily pass by without a second glance. The mid-week, out-of-season evening I visited was bitterly cold and the restaurant deserted.
However, judging by the number of order slips hanging on the wall, takeaway business was brisk. I doubt there were many boaters around that particular evening, so my guess is that the restaurant is popular among the locals – which comes as no surprise for their food is very good, albeit a tad explosive in the case of the Jalaiya Agnipath…
Getting there by boat
Whether approaching from Southampton Water or the Solent, the Hamble Point south cardinal is the mark to aim for. From there, the entrance to the River Hamble is visible and well marked. Cinnamon Bay is located just a minute or two’s walk from Port Hamble. If berthing here, be mindful of the pink ferry which runs between Warsash and Hamble-le-Rice, crossing the river every few minutes at peak times.
Cost: £55-60 based on a two-course takeaway plus sides and a bottle of wine
Times: 1730-2300, seven days a week
Verdict: If you like your curry hot, this is the place to go!
MBY reader rating: 3/5 (based on food, ambience and value for money)
Tel: 02380 452285 / cinnamonbayhamble.co.uk