As we prepare to launch our debut restaurant outside of London, I can’t help but reminisce on the journey that brought The Cinnamon Collection here to the beautiful city of Oxford.

It would be fair to say that I somewhat surprised my parents by expressing an interest to join hotels years ago, rather than choosing the tried and tested path of an engineer. Coming to the UK in 2000 to open The Cinnamon Club was not just considered ambitious but was actually quite an audacious move at the time.

Thinking about it now, it makes me smile that so many people around us said that a restaurant with an idea like The Cinnamon Club will never work. Yet we were so wrapped up in our ideas that we didn’t listen, and good on us.

The idea of combining Indian flavours and restaurant fine dining styles, pushing people’s perception of Indian food to present it in a way that would showcase seasonality and ambition was not something that was common or even expected at the time. I am pleased we did not listen when people told us it wouldn’t work; we just kept chipping away.

Five restaurants later, a few cookbooks , a couple of international pop-ups and several appearances on Saturday Kitchen and MasterChef, I can’t be more proud of how the Cinnamon Collection has grown.

In the past 16 years the Cinnamon Collection has played such an important part of changing the public’s perception in the UK of Indian food.

But the thing I am most proud of is how our team has grown with us! I’m especially delighted that our Head Chef in Oxford, Murugavelu, or Velu Anna as he is called in the team, was a part of the original opening team in 2001.

Following years of meditative work and a constant state of trance at The Cinnamon Club, we opened Cinnamon Kitchen in Devonshire Square in 2008 it was the city’s first tandoor bar & grill and we opened a spice-infused cocktail bar called Anise.

I always thought of Cinnamon Kitchen as the perfect marriage of the best of both worlds - combining our ideas of seasonality, good quality produce and innovative cooking with the energy, theatre and the glossiness that is associated with hip and happening places, the vibe of successful restaurants.

In 2012, four years into the financial crisis, something inside me got me thinking that it was relatively easier to cook in high-end restaurants serving up very expensive meals, but more a mark of a chef to use lesser known cuts of meat and ingredients, which led to the birth of Cinnamon Soho - which broke the mould by getting rid of the formality while creating Indian dishes at a more accessible price.

And now here we are, nearly 10 years after the launch of Cinnamon Kitchen Devonshire Square and we couldn’t be more excited to open our first restaurant outside of London. I must admit I have this fascination for beautiful buildings and amazing locations that London has to offer.

In some ways when the opportunity in Oxford presented itself it was as much the city as its location that got us thinking. The Westgate Centre is also a breath taking development and I am in love with the views from our open Terrace Garden on the roof. We are looking forward to sharing our unique Cinnamon ethos with residents and visitors alike.

Cinnamon Kitchen Oxford will offer our trade mark style of modern Indian cooking and our signature dishes, that combine Indian spicing and cooking techniques with the very best local seasonal produce that Oxford has to offer.

Cinnamon Kitchen Oxford we offer another level in terms of interaction and theatre, such an important part of the experience that people want these days.

Eating out isn’t just about great food and good drinks anymore, so the jewel in the crown is going to be our rooftop garden terrace that will overlook the Oxford spires, which will be an amazing spot for guests to relax and enjoy drinks and a bite to eat with idyllic views over the city. See you there!

Cinnamon Kitchen Oxford, 309 Westgate, Oxford OX1 1NZ