Chakra, a new Indian restaurant in Kingston, set right on the Thames, is perfect for a light lunch when shopping, or a romantic evening meal, with the twinkling lights of the bridge and passing boats
Chakra is not setting out to be just another local Indian restaurant. It take its name and inspiration from chakras – or energy points – fusing this positive energy into the preparing, marinating and cooking of the high quality ingredients and offering an experience well beyond the usual fare.
Like its original sister restaurant in Kensington, the décor is stylish whilst relaxing. I went for lunch with Rita Kamat – an expert, it seems, on every good Indian restaurant there is in London from Indian Zilla to Chutney Mary – and her knowledge of the origins of each dish made choosing from the menu all the more interesting. Most of the dishes are from Northern India with influences from the Punjab and other regions. Most are vegetarian, with a selection of vegan dishes, too.
We started with Yam Chaat – sweet potato chaat, roasted with cumin and lemon, drizzled with tamarind chutney (£7.50) and Avocado Ke Gole – fried crispy puff pastry filled with avocado, cumin yoghurt, and tamarind (£7.95). The chaat was a wonderful mix of flavours and texture – the thick, sweet and spicy potato combined with the coolness of the yoghurt, but then again a tang of the tamarind chutney. I was keen to try the avocado starter as I’ve never had fried avocado before and it arrived as little balls of deliciousness – the avocado wrapped in the pastry and the piquant flavours of the spices complementing the smoothness of the fruit.
With our appetites whetted, we shared three mains – not quite such a light lunch! The Mirchi Murgh Chicken Tikka (£10.95) was so tender it literally melted on the tongue. Marinated for a good few hours in Kashmiri chilli powder, green chillies and accompanied by garlic and plum chutney, it was fabulous. The Maa Di Dal (£8.95) was a thick, dark pot of simmering lentils, peas and beans. Rita explained that in Northern India, the pot of dal is left in the ground to gently cook through the day and night before being served. Here they cooked it in a clay oven over night and the result was full of flavour. For me, the outstanding dish was the Baingan Ka Bharta – roasted aubergine then slowly cooked with a blend of spices, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and coriander (£9.95). Smokey flavours and perfect for dipping.
Sadly, after three main courses, neither Rita nor I had room for dessert, despite favourites such as mango kulfi and sorbets being on offer, but the fresh mint tea was a great end to the meal.
020 8541 5757
1 Riverside Walk, Kingston KT1 1QN
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