Al fresco dining experience at Chakra in Kingston
By Aiysha Dakri (@aiysha.dakri)HALAL STATUS Fully Halal food menu • Alcohol served
Situated in Kingston, this is the perfect spot for a summer afternoon, with seating available both indoors and outdoors with a marvellous view.
Being a short distance from the train station, it is easy to commute to and for those who choose to drive, there is parking available nearby in the Bentall Centre.
The restaurant has a seating capacity of 120 including both the indoor and outdoor space, with access to disabled facilities, if required.
The decor was elegant with touches of marble, gold, purple and teal adding to the overall warm and welcoming atmosphere.
It contrasted with the authentic Indian cuisine creating a nice ambience within the restaurant itself making it the perfect spot to dine.
I have to say, the most unique part of the restaurant was the rickshaw inspired table which gave that truly Asia feel.
There was also soft background music allowing me to hold a conversation without feeling the need to shout. The restaurant was immaculately clean including the dishes and cutlery. The toilets were decorated well and were kept neat and tidy.
The first thing I tried on the menu was the virgin mojito which was refreshing and minty, and definitely one I would recommend.
However, the second mojito, which was called the Passion Punch, was well presented and had a sweet taste to it, much like the taste of summer. Definitely my favourite.
For starters, I had Dilli da Golgappa, Lucknowi Samosa Chaat and Kashmiri Chicken Tikka.
For those of you who are unaware, Golgappa is the Indian name for a semolina cup, which in this case had a potato, onion and chickpea spiced mix with a tangy tamarind, mint and spiced water sauce to accompany it. It came with six pieces and for me, it was a light starter that had a slight but comfortable kick.
The Lucknowi Samosa Chaat had the perfect blend of spices creating a delightful aroma, and was topped with pomegranates adding a hint of sweetness.
While some may say that these dishes are typical Indian street food, Chakra really brought me a unique take on them, which is hard to find in other restaurants. Being a fan of chaat and golgappa, I have to say, these had to be one of the best I’ve had yet.
Starting off the meal with cold Indian street food to settle the palate after a long journey, my hot starter was the Kashmiri Chicken Tikka.
The chicken cubes were succulent and cooked to perfection, complemented with a mint chutney, which softened the spicy undertones. It would certainly be a dish I would order again.
For mains, I ordered the Good Ole Butter Chicken Tikka Masala and Chef Satya’s Nihari Lamb Shank.
Butter chicken is one of my favourite Indian dishes and it’s something I tend to order from every place that has it on the menu, so my expectations, following the amazing starters, were very high.
This dish never failed to impress; it was rich and creamy, full of aromatic spices and accompanied with buttery naan.
With the second main, I ordered Chef Satya’s Nihari Lamb Shank. This dish had strong flavours which tickled the palate, and a gingery hint which added to the appetising nature of the dish.
The lamb itself was tender, falling off the bone, just as you’d expect from a lamb shank. There are plenty of options on the menu and I would not hesitate to try something different the next time I go.
For dessert, I chose to order Chocolate Fondant Cake and Fresh Berry Cheesecake. The Chocolate Fondant Cake was rich and heavy, perfect for any chocoholic!
Not being someone who is entirely fond of chocolate, it was ideal to have the dessert accompanied by vanilla ice cream, since it balanced the richness of the sponge.
The Fresh Berry Cheesecake was a creamy refreshing dessert for a hot summer afternoon. The berry taste wasn’t overpowering, but instead more of a focus on the cream filling.
Being a berry lover, I might order the raspberry sorbet instead next time, since it is potentially a better choice for my palate. However, for those who don’t enjoy berries as much, this may go down well.
Sadly, the presentation of the cheesecake was not the same as presented online – everyone has a small gripe, right? This minor gripe does not change my mind about going back to this fantastic restaurant.
The service overall was good, and the staff were attentive (might have been because the restaurant was quiet when I visited with a friend).
The food was brought out fairly quickly and with enough time between each course to allow us to enjoy things without feeling rushed. There was a wait for desserts, but that wasn’t a big deal. The staff were polite and easily able to attend to all of our requests.
Thank you Chakra for a memorable culinary experience – look forward to coming to dine with you again soon.
1 Riverside Walk, Bishops Palace House, Kingston upon Thames KT1 1QN.
Opening Hours: Mon-Thur 11:45-14:45, 17:30-22:00 | Fri-Sat 11:45-22:30 | Sun 11:00-21:30