I was testing the main menu of some Desktop Environments (Mate and Xfce) to find out why their menus are so much faster than Cinnamon's menu. Well, I think I found one of the possible reasons for it. Under Mater or Xfce the menu opens just by a mouse button press, I mean, the menu opens even before the user releases the mouse button. Under Cinnamon the menu only opens after the user releases the mouse button. In my opinion, this contributes substantially to the overall sensation of slowness. I know this may appear to be a negligible detail, but trust me, it makes a huge difference.
So my suggestion:
Make the menu open immediately when the user presses the mouse button. Don't wait for it to open only when the user releases the pressed button .
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