Restaurant Review: Chokhi Dhani, Nine Elms in London
Emulating the cultural richness of inland Rajasthan, Chokhi Dhani is a contemporary reflection that presents authentic fine food paired with attentive service. Championing a locally inspired and unique strand of Indian food – Chokhi Dhani offers London a different kind of Indian cuisine that we’re not quite so accustomed to.
With a generous Thames river view overlooking neighbouring house boats, Chokhi Dhani is as much about the experience as it is the food and drink, complete with its own roving magician and henna artist. Paired with this interactive dining experience is a predominant focus on the sub-continent, also adapting itself to across a variety of other dishes from across the vast country.
Chokhi Dhani – translating into ‘fine village’, echoes the concept of a ‘tasteful and authentic symbol of ethnic village life’ and in a nutshell, is a celebration of traditional Rajasthani cuisine. Originating as a restaurant in Rajasthan that opened in 1990, it has since expanded into a luxury collection. Chokhi Dhani’s founder, Gul Vaswani grew the concept as a way of celebrating and sharing the most special elements of Rajasthani culture, and most importantly, introducing it to both local and international travellers.
The first overseas opening, Chokhi Dhani is the London restaurant that opened in April this year and reflects Gul Vaswani’s original concept amongst the metropolis of Nine Elms. Responsible for the menu is a strong line up of individuals who are more than qualified to launch Chokhi Dhani into the Indian restaurant scene. In partnership, this includes Vishnu Natarajan of Soho’s Carom with Bhagwan Singh of Cinnamon Culture and Mint Leaf who is a particular specialist of Rajasthani cuisine. Supporting them is Mohammed Naseem Qureshi from Bombay Bustle and Lotus and pastry chef Rakesh Sharma from Chutney Mary and Mint Leaf.
This group of culinary experts have carefully assembled Chokhi Dhani’s offering, ensuring its touchpoints are individually unique. Rich and deeply fragrant dishes keep diners on their toes with ‘Shuruwaaat’ dishes designed to draw diners in with unusual options such as ‘Bheja Roasti’: lamb brain with free range egg on toast or ‘Khargosh’: pulled slow cooked rabbit. A variety of produce is also incorporated into the Tandoor Grill section from succulent tiger prawns and ostrich and Chokhi Dhani’s Classic Signature Dishes including monk fish and lamb rump.
Exclusively available for dinner is Chokhi Dhani’s ‘Rajasthani Feast’. Truly showcasing the delights of this Indian niche, those who select this menu can expect dishes that mirror the landscape and traditionally available produce. Dishes feature include a foraged and sundried bean and shrub berry curry, poached gram flour nuggets in an aromatic yogurt curry and slow braised succulent boneless lamb with yogurt, cardamom and cashew nuts.
With an environment bejewelled with artworks that feature some of India’s most respected artists – including a 14-foot life-sized bronze elephant crafted by Vivek K Agrawal that welcomes guests at the entrance; the food is only the beginning at Chokhi Dhani. Truly reminiscent of Rajasthan – Gul Vaswani’s personality shines through in this London outpost for an interactive Rajasthan inspired dining experience.
Address: 2 Riverlight Quay, Nine Elms Lane, London SW11 8AW, 020 3795 9000, firstname.lastname@example.org, chokhidhani.co.uk