Review: Chakra, High Street Kensington
Style Points: 3/5
Found within the luxurious houses of Kensington, you could come across the wonderful Indian restaurant Chakra. Visually, the Chakra is small and more café-like with its understated décor. However the food served here is perfectly presented and seems much more high-end than you feel that it would be when you enter.
The restaurant intends to ‘invigorate the positive energy with food, balanced through the use of technique, marination, kitchen skills and spice’ which adds a further dimension to the Chakras (energy points) of your body.
Would I Want Seconds?
To start our meal at Chakra, we were given some mini poppadums with a spicy sauce which was perfect to get my palate in the right place for the upcoming meal. To start, my vegetarian companion and myself shared the grilled asparagus, roasted cumin, sesame paste with sweet potato mash, the crispy avocado spheres, curry leaves with tamarind chutney and the clay oven paneer with mint and basil chutney. The presentation was delightful as was the taste. The avocado was extraordinarily delicate and light and the paneer was a great portion size and had that delicious smoky taste.
For our main courses at Chakra we shared the paneer, petit pois, ginger and nutmeg, the tarka daal and the sweet potatoes and okra with red onions. The paneer dish had a great variety of flavours and was truly scrumptious. The sweet potato dish was fried and salted and was so crisp it was almost like eating warm vegetable crisps (not that I am complaining!). The tarka daal didn’t sweep me off my feet however I find this to be the case whenever I order daal so am starting to think I might just not like it that much.
The desserts looked very intriguing so I opted for the chocolate soil, mint, chocolate stones and ice cream and my companion chose the mango kulfi, fresh mango and mango sauce.
The presentation of these were very different from anything I have seen before. The chocolate dish was in a small bowl and looked like a little dry garden. One would be forgiven for thinking it was not food at all however the big stone was actually the ice cream and the soil underneath was caramel with chocolate shards. The remaining stones proved to be chocolates.
I probably enjoyed the dish more for the spectacle rather than the taste itself as I did feel that I was simply eating several chocolates for the most part however it still would not disappoint fellow chocoholics. The mango kulfi was also presented in an innovatice way and unfortunately we did not catch the instructions from the waiter about how to consume it. We therefore gave it a messy go ourselves which was fun. Once again the presentation outdid the taste of the dessert as a whole but it was still a satisfying end to the meal.
Could I Afford Seconds?
The prices at Chakra are not on the cheap side with starters beginning at just under £10 with the mains the same price. The desserts were all between £5 and £6. The meat dishes are obviously more money than the vegetarian dishes but this would still not be a cheap evening out if you choose to try this restaurant.
I had a lovely experience at Chakra. There was a great buzz in the little restaurant and everyone seemed delighted with their food as was I. I think that the quality of the food is better than the venue itself and, for me, it was also a bit of a journey to get to Chakra. However if you are in West London, are willing to spend more than you usually would on an Indian meal, and fancy some superior Indian food then I would certainly recommend Chakra.
Reviewed by guest writer Veggie Eats London. A special thanks to Chakra for inviting us to dinner!
Address: 33C Holland Street, London W8 4LX
Tube: High Street Kensington