I was lucky enough to dine at the upmarket Indian restaurant Chakra about a year ago. At that time it had rather glitzy premises in Notting Hill and I totally fell in love with the fabulous food they served. Due to their lease expiring, they had to move premises earlier this year and now find themselves in a rather bijou space just off of Kensington High Street. It rather feels as if you have stepped into the front room of one of the palatial properties situated along Holland Street where they now reside. The intimacy of the surroundings is matched by the warmth of the greeting we got as we arrived and we really were made to feel at home.
The location may have changed but I was pleased to find that the quality of the food was as good as ever. This is not your run of the mill Tandoori restaurant but falls far more into the fine dining category. While tucking into a pot of adorable mini poppadums with a rather tangy chutney, we perused the menu.
Although I was intrigued by the Crispy Avocado Spheres, I am a sucker for Paneer and couldn’t resist this dish which came with Mint & Basil Chutney. My husband found it hard to resist the Lamb Seekh Kebab. Two very generous portions were presented to us and they were not for the faint hearted!
The Seekh Kebab certainly packed a spicy punch and even the milder Paneer was well endowed in spices.
With our taste buds well and truly alert by now we eagerly awaited our main courses. I was actually rather glad that we had gone for two milder dishes; the Chicken Korma served with Cashewnuts and Mushrooms and the Tandoori Gressingham Duck Breast with Figs.
Korma can sometimes be so mild it becomes tasteless but we needn’t have worried that this would be the case here. Again it packed enough punch to give the dish flavour but still had the creaminess that Korma is renowned for. The duck is a dry dish cooked in the Tandoor oven and we were recommended to have some lentils with it, which proved to be a good addition. The spicing on this dish was far more subtle but still tasty.
We always like a Naan bread to accompany our curry and were intrigued to see a Blue Cheese variety on the menu. We had to order one and ate it in-between our starters and main courses. I know it sounds wrong but it was delicious and an absolute must for blue cheese lovers.
There is also a very decent and not overpriced wine list, which include some interesting additions such as a French Reisling.
Once our plates were cleared away it was time for a bit of magic. What looked like two large sugar cubes were brought on a plate and hot water poured over them. We watched as they expanded into two hot clothes to wipe our hands with. It was a nice touch.
Then on to dessert. I know Indian restaurants are not renowned for their desserts but in Chakra it is a must to try one.
We shared the Chocolate Soil, Mint, Chocolate Stones & Ice Cream along with the Mango Kulfi, Fresh Mango & Mango Sauce. The Kulfi comes in little squares placed on the end of a perspex pipet (for want of a better word). The idea is you suck the end of the pipet and get a mouthful of kulfi, together with the mango sauce which is inside the pipet. It was a dream! So much so that I had to have two to make sure. The chocolate dish is a chocoholics dream come true and tastes as lovely as it looks.
Given the intimacy of the restaurant, it wasn’t surprising that by the time we left at just before 9pm they were full. So booking in advance is very much advised. However, they tell me they have plans to expand into their basement and there are also some tables outside, which would be a nice place to sit on a summer’s evening.
Chakra Kensington on Holland Street
33c Holland Street
London, W8 4LX
Tel 020 7229 2115