Restaurant Review: Chakra, Kensington High Street in London
Nestled down a side street just off Kensington High Street is a quaint little restaurant, Chakra. Serving predominately North Indian cuisine with Punjabi influences, their philosophy is based on the chakra being the centre of healing and spiritual power within the human body, and the combination of lifestyle and dietary balance ensuring health and well-being.
My dining partner, Kaz, and I dined there on a wet and windy Monday night and stepped in from the street into a cosy, warm and peaceful space, with brightly coloured glassware and fabrics, deep turquoise walls and vases of beautiful posies. A large bar dominates the room, which is tiled in deep blue mosaics and complements an impressive patterned floor and there is an overwhelming feeling of nature, with foliage adorning the bar and lush planting on the outside terrace, bringing ‘the outside, inside’.
We started with a glass of Prosecco and the obligatory poppadums and chutneys. The first portion was disappointingly soft, but the second batch was delightfully crispy, dipped into sweet mango chutney and didn’t touch the sides. What is it about poppadums that make you want to eat a bucketful?! We both chose from the vegan menu, so we could share everything, and we were not disappointed.
All of the dishes were brought out at the same time and we dug in! Truffle naan, which was a mushroom stuffed naan bread sounds simple but was truly the best dish of the night – so moreish, and even more wonderful when dipped in the baigran bharta; a spicy aubergine curry that was packed full of flavour and heat from spices. This was accompanied with pulao rice and a delightful creamed spinach (tadka palak), tempered with garlic, chilli and dill. This calmed the heat of the curry and was a vibrant green colour that always makes me happy. On the side, we had tandoori gobi, a gorgeous baked cauliflower dish with mango, ginger and lentil dust. Each dish was cooked to perfection and together were a culinary delight.
The desserts were a little bit of a let-down, with only one vegan dessert on the menu, a raspberry sorbet, it was, however, a very good raspberry sorbet. The right balance of sweet and sour, a deep pink colour and very smooth – a good palate cleanser following the curry. Kaz opted for a mango kulfi, a traditional Indian ice cream and she remarked on its wonderfully creamy texture and fresh mango flavour.
In this modern age there is an emphasis on spiritual and mental wellbeing and being mindful of the foods we eat. Restaurants like Chaka pride themselves on providing diners with a holistic experience, with harmony and tranquillity at the core of their philosophy. With the correlation between emotional well-being and diet being widely documented, I would recommend a trip to Chakra for great food, ambience and for you’re overall welfare….Om
Prices from the vegan menu range between £4.50 and £9.95; main menu – starters from £4.50 up to £12.95, mains between £13.95 and £25.95 (vegetarian mains significantly less at £7.50-£9.95). Breads and accompaniments start from £3 up to £4.50, sharing menus are £40 per head, while biryani and rice is priced between £5 and £13.95. Desserts start at £5.95, with the most expensive at £6.95. Very reasonable indeed.
Address: 33C Holland St, Kensington, London W8 4LX / 020 7229 2115