I definitely don’t spend enough time in West London.
I do love the East, its dirty-around-the-edges look and ever-changing, pop-up-turned-brick-and-mortar restaurant scene.
But the truth is, the West, with its pretty brick-and-white houses, its shiny stores and oh-very-civilised restaurants (no queueing over here, they ALL take reservation!), could very easily steal my heart if I were to spend more time on the other side of the city.
And I won’t lie, one of the top reasons would be the proximity to Chakra, an upscale Indian restaurant with a neighbourhood feel, recently relocated from Notting Hill onto Holland Street.
Located on a quiet corner just off the hustle and bustle of Kensington High Street, with pastel-painted walls and attentive service, Chakra is quite an intimate spot.
Perfect for a middle-of-the-week date night!
Which also explains why we refrained from ordering the entire list of Indian-inspired cocktails and settled for lemonade instead (plain for me & Masala for him).
… but when it came to food, we weren’t quite as reasonable…
Poppadums with tamarind chutney.
Always a good way to start a meal!
Crab Galouti with Saffron & Nutmeg Potted Shrimp and Blue Corn Roti
Beautiful, melt-in-the-mouth crab patties, with a slight crispy pan-fried exterior and a fiery green chilli kick, the crab galouti was a wonderful, summery interpretation of the traditional Uttar Pradesh lamb kebab.
I would happily have eaten it all by myself, but that would have been a bit shellfish…
Plus it would have limited my claims on the delicately-spiced Tandoori Paneer with Basil & Mint Chutney…
For mains, we shared the Clay Oven Cooked Black Cod with Green Chilli & Garlic Yoghurt
… as well as the Tandoori Poussin, Red Onion, Lemon.
Both were beautifully spiced and cooked to perfection and a great hommage to the quality of the cooking at Chakra.
Trust me, when it comes to Indian food, that’s not something you can wing!
With a side of Okra, Red Onions, Chilli & Lime (that my boyfriend said tasted almost the same as the way his mum cooks them)…
… and a rather extensive selection of bread to mop every little bit of marinade off the plates, the whole lot made for a stunning Indian feast, representative of the diversity of food across the Indian subcontinent and worthy of the Royal Maharajah kitchens Chakra takes its inspiration in.
And for dessert, we had caviar.
Gulab Jamun Caviar, that is, served with Pistachio Toast and Cardamom Creme.
A playful take on the Russian classic, and a beautiful one at that!
With barely enough room for Chai, we said our goodbyes and on the way home, we were already discussing making our way West for another Indian feast soon.
The ultimate proof that the food at Chakra is very, very good indeed! Probably a naan out of ten!
Chakra, 33c Holland Street, Kensington, London W8 4LX
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