After the disappointment of attempting ‘posh curry’ at Trishna not too long ago, I was dubious about heading over to Notting Hill to try London’s latest upmarket Indian offering.
Walking in and spotting the glamourous, plush interior I became even more concerned. I’m a big fan of the likes of Tayyabs in East London where the decor is about as inviting as the service (rams tongue in cheek), but the addictive quality of the food is what lures you back there time and time again. In my mind a good curry doesn’t need to come in gilt-edged packaging.
It’s hard to dislike Chakra though. The supermodel hostess who welcomes you into the restaurant is exceptionally warm and friendly, and the decor really is on a par with her when it comes to pristine appearances.
We sat at a lovely table by the window and took a read through the menu. The menu explains the concept behind the restaurant, how Chef Andy Varma was inspired by how Chakras are the energy points that vitalise the physical body, and how he wanted to translate that same vitality through the food. The menu is made up a variety of dishes from different techniques or ‘schools’ of Indian cuisine. You are encouraged to order 2 to 3 dishes to share from each section. Delighted and intrigued by what was available on the menu, we weren’t shy when it came to putting in our order.
We started out with a complimentary amuse bouche of a deliciously spiced bean-cake. Just hot enough to give the taste buds a nudge in preparation for what was to come, it was the perfect warm-up.
We ordered the Lahori Kebab (homemade masala flavoured lamb seekh kebab grilled on the Chulha), the Butternut Squash Galouti (Yellow chilli masala & black pepper flavoured butternut squash mince kebab), the Rehaman Kate Ghost Salan (onion & ginger flavoured English baby lamb curry with fresh bottle gourd, delicately cooked in a yoghurt based sauce), black daal and Jalandhar chicken (tandoori grilled chicken simmered in a fine tomato & cream masala).
Absolutely none of the dishes disappointed. They were all incredibly flavoursome and authentic in style, if presented in a rather more considered and attractive way than the likes of Tayyabs. But that’s Chakra all over. It’s decent Indian food presented as fine dining as opposed to fine dining trying to imitate Indian flavours. Although at the pricey end of the scale (average £12-£14 for a main), it’s well worth the money in my opinion. We had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
The service is exceptionally courteous and attentive, the interior is cool and elegant, and the food is as good as you find in the East End.
We’ll definitely be making a return to Chakra at some point.