On the road with St Albans' Cinnamon Travelling Café
PUBLISHED: 11:13 31 March 2016 | UPDATED: 12:17 31 March 2016
I am often asked to recommend a catering company, and I have been meaning to tell you about the Cinnamon Travelling Café for a while now.
I met Kim and Meena last year at the St Albans and Harpenden Food and Drink Festival where they had a stand at the street food finale day. They make delicious, truly home-made Indian and Caribbean food that is packed with flavour. We met again a month or so later when I bid for dinner for two at an auction event. Kim came to our house and cooked the most mouth-watering coconut prawns that we ate almost straight from the pan. She left us with a delicately spiced chicken curry and a chai-spiced chocolate cake, which we loved.
The business is called the ‘travelling cafe’ because they can take their stall anywhere and provide food for any occasion. The duo and their team have a packed few months of festivals ahead, but they also do private dinners, weddings, parties and business lunches. They are able to cater for up to 100 people, and I can imagine that their curries would be a very welcome change from cold quiches and sandwiches.
The duo met a few years ago when they cooked together for school fundraising events. With Kim’s 30th coming up, they decided to go to Las Vegas so started the business to raise funds for the trip. Kim is the main cook, and has a degree in hospitality, and used to work at The Grove. Word got around about their food, and the business flourished.
The food they make is all very healthy, and they use plenty of roots, sweet potatoes, split peas and lentils, as well as their own ground spices. As they make everything from scratch they are very able to cater for dietary requirements, whether vegan, gluten-free, carb-free, low GI or dairy free. Their sweet potato and chickpea curry is very popular, as are the vegetarian chaat bowls (I loved this at the Food and Drink Festival), bang bang chicken and Caribbean mutton. They even make spice-inspired sushi.
Cinnamon Travelling Café have been recognised in local awards. In early 2014 they were put forward for the Dacorum Den Awards for start-up ideas, and won. They were also awarded the Special Judges Award, which came with an additional grant and a business manager, which helped the duo to expand. More recently they have been shortlisted for Outstanding Service Excellence in The Herts Awards 2016, and they will find out in June.
To try their food, look out for Cinnamon Travelling Café at the Harpenden Carnival (June 11), St Albans Street Festival (June 21), Marlborough Festival (July 9), Hatfield House Folk Festival (July 24) and Berko Food Festival (September 4), and then later in the year at the St Albans Food and Drink Festival (October 2). They also cook curries for the monthly Haresfoot Brewery Tours in Berkhamsted. This is well worth going along to, as for just #20 you do a beer tasting and get dinner of curry, rice, chapati and salad included. The 2016 festival menus are ‘Rebel Buddha’ and ‘Rum Drunk Rasta’.
If you just want a family dinner delivered, I recommend the Friday night-in option. The duo deliver dinner to you, at prices very comparable to local takeaways. They have a lovely ‘pay it forward’ idea, whereby you can nominate someone who you feel deserves a special treat, and they will donate dinner for free. The team feel this is a thank you for the support they received when they started.