Posh curry, which is essentially what Cinnamon Kitchen is, is a hard concept for us to swallow.

Institutionalised by years of laddish lager swilling, poppadom punching, chicken tikka masalas, flocked wallpaper, dodgy fish tanks, low ceilings, artex walls and swirling carpets, the mere thought of dining somewhere sophisticated when eating Indian cuisine, is an anathema to us all.

So venturing in to the Westgate's rooftop terrace to discover it's Indian offering was somewhat unnerving. Obviously a different experience from the moment we arrived; there was someone to take our coats, lead us to our table, ask if we wanted still or sparkling water, pull out our chairs and explain the menus.

The huge light, airy tasteful room was complete with an open plan kitchen, endless well dressed staff and twinkly Christmas lights confirmed my preconceptions. Cinnamon Kitchen is as sleek and dapper as Shere Khan himself.

The seriously pricey menu proved that the bill would also be an entirely different affair. The food therefore needed to live up to the hype.

But what would replace our favourites? Because curry diners are notorious for their traditional tastes, tending to order the same thing over and over again rather than experiment, more so than anywhere else.

Cinnamon Kitchen have made it easier by offering a diverse, novel and enticing selection of options. One has to look hard to find anything resembling what came before, presumably to pander those who are unable to diversify.

Actually one has to look hard to see anything at all because the print on the menu is so small, it's almost impossible to read. The lighting was also quite dim where we were sitting, the two factors in turn transforming us into Mole from Wind In The Willows.

Having brought the entire family, the restaurant was also unable to offer a children's menu, so we then had to steer the kids away from the more expensive dishes. "Can I have the tandoori king prawns?" my son asked. On checking its £25 price tag, 'no' was the immediate answer, even if it did come with Bengali turmeric curry, ghee rice and spinach poriyal.

To give you an idea of the prices, the naan bread selection was £7 and the dal trio £7.50, before we had even started. The old delhi chicken (the safest bet for the more modest diner) was £19. The Rajasthani lamb curry also £19.

Mr Greedy started sweating. It was too late to bail and run over to Pizza Pilgrims across the way. We might as well enjoy it.

Everyone else did. The place was heaving and had we not booked we wouldn't have got a look in. Full of sophisticated diners who matched the decor and the food, Cinnamon Kitchen has already become a destination restaurant by all accounts.

But back to the food. Having to slightly scrimp on the starters we all had a mouthful of the savoury Indian cake (smoked haddock and Jerusalem artichoke with green chilli aioli £9) which was fragrant, sticky, gentle and utterly unique.

We also shared the Bombay street food starter which consists of vada pao, tapioca cake and chilli paneer, allowing you try a wonderful array of textures and spicing, to prepare the palate.

The main course option of Tandoori Trio followed suit; a heady combination of paneer tikka, achari cauliflower and a slightly unlikely padron pepper, considering its Spanish background.

The paneer indian cheese rubbed your teeth wonderfully, the tikka piquant rather than stinging. They certainly don't dumb down the heat here either. Neither of my children could manage the chilli content of either the Old Delhi style butter chicken with pilau rice which sounded fairly innocuous and calming on the menu, despite asking the waiters to tame the spice for them.

The Punjabi style paneer and pea butter masala was also considered too hot, the lesson being don't bring your children unless they can eat jalapenos straight out of the jar.

However, there were moments of wonder. The laal maas lamb curry was fiery, sultry, zinging and perfectly spiced, the meat sweet, soft and tender. The char-grilled sea bass in banana leaf parcel, lime pickle and sticky rice (£18) was a gift of a dish; dainty, oriental, beautifully presented, the fish skilfully cooked and allowed to play centre stage, the spicing and accoutrements enhancing rather than dominating the dish.

Unable to choose between the bewildering desserts or keep the kids on their best behaviour any longer (yes it is that kind of restaurant), we relented and opted for the suggested platter of assorted desserts instead. It was only when the bill arrived we realised it cost £22.50 for the privilege.

That Executive Chef, Vivek Singh is an immense cook is undisputed. That he has taken on a dated and fabricated national cuisine, turned it on its head, and introduced us to a whole new range of possibilities is again incontrovertible. But having opened his first restaurant in the City in London, where the prices are I'm sure unremarkable, he might find it harder to charge the same prices in Oxford, however exceptional the food is.

Mr Greedy certainly found it harder to pay.

Cinnamon Kitchen, Westgate, Oxford.


Monday to Friday

10am – LATE

Saturday – Sunday

09am – LATE

01865 951670