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Chakra (Restaurant)

Picture of Chakra in Notting Hill, London

157-159 Notting Hill Gate, Notting Hill, London, W11 3LF
Cuisine: Indian
Tel: 020 7229 2115 | Email to Chakra | Transport: Notting Hill Gate | Write review

Chakra Review

Best for: women with bouffants; impressing the parentals in west London.

Great: waiting staff; chic interior design; and small portions, beautifully presented.

I'm always suspicious when a restaurant has a tagline that sounds as if it's been created by a very highly paid advertising agency. Sometimes what you're being told sounds just a bit too polished to be true.

So, when I was due to visit Chakra – a well-heeled Indian restaurant in Notting Hill – and read that its chef's dishes had been inspired by the idea of the chakras (which suggests there are various energy points in our bodies that can be triggered to work together and vitalise our mind, body and soul) I could only think, “Oh Lord, what a pile of yuppie, upper-class nonsense.”

Don't get me wrong; I'm all for yoga, eastern philosophy and a bit of spiritualism, but linking food dishes to this idea had me unconvinced, which is never a good frame of mind when entering a restaurant. Nevertheless, I decided to put those doubts aside and let the atmosphere and food work its magic.

The restaurant is designed, at the front, as if it would fit into Country Life magazine (all delicate white benches, and cream, cream, cream!) and, at the back, with a chic west London vibe (dark wood panelling, chunky skylights and bespoke chandeliers). It moves together fluidly and shouts “we're not a hole-in-the-wall Indian curry restaurant, but one where you wear pearls and eat with a knife and fork” very loudly.

Everything is presented beautifully and in small proportions compared to your local Indian takeaway. This is Indian cuisine for those watching their weight, who appreciate a pristine aesthetic. Poppadoms come pre-broken, accompanied by delicate, spicy dips arranged in a streamlined glass tower.

Tamarind sweet potatoes have a chilli bite and are just right, while the paneer (Indian cheese) is softly crisped from the tandoor. The venison, although tender and rich, lacks spice, but the chicken dish we were given was a drowned in sauce, tasting like cream of tomato soup.

Chakra Channa – the chef's take on channa masala, or chick peas – was intriguing and welcome: slightly bitter, flamed and dry rather than saucy. Nothing is overly spiced, but that allows more of the rich flavours to emerge on the palate, as opposed to washing your tongue in flames.

It's Indian for the upper-class palate or, equally, a menu your parents might like if they've only ever stuck to creamy kormas. They'll be highly impressed, as well, with the on-cue waiting staff, who are so effortlessly friendly and aware. You can't pause from finishing your meal before they're there ready to ask what else they can provide.

The problem with Chakra for me was that, while the food was pleasing on the eye, and the waiting staff some of the best I've encountered in London, I couldn't make the link between healthier feelings of mind, body and soul being created by my food when a set of extremely rich, nasal Americans and toffs were sat beside me in designer clothes talking about getting a good deal on £25,000 first class flights. It's not the restaurant's fault of course – and I'm sure that table beside us were decent people because some of their conversation was about their kids and life in London (ie: somewhat normal) – it’s just I didn't feel that connection to Mother Earth when I was distracted by all that wealth.

But, maybe I'm being an inverse snob because Chakra has got a heart and the team seems to be doing its best to marry west London high living with an interesting concept, in a splendid setting. And, for that, they have to be applauded.
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Customer Reviews for Chakra

Average (based on 6 votes): 6 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Chakra.

“Andy Varma's new menu at Chakra is just exceptional! The food is so mouth watering. My friends and I also really enjoyed the cocktails! Especially the passionfruit mojito! Definitely reccommend it for a girly lunch/dinner with your best friends :D We had a fantastic time!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Carly, London (6 years 7 months 2 days ago)

“We had a really nice experience at Chakra, good service and awesome food!!!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Lisa, London (6 years 7 months 16 days ago)

“Chakra has a fantastic food, and a really nice service. Love it!!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Lisa, London (6 years 7 months 23 days ago)

Show all user reviews for Chakra

“We went to Chakra and we love it!! It's the best Indian food restaurant in London. We will go again!!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Isabel, London (6 years 8 months 1 days ago)

“Absolutely love this restaurant! The food is delicious, the best Indian food I have had in a long time. Such great flavours and a brilliant atmosphere, decor and service! Highly recommended!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Liz, London (6 years 8 months 29 days ago)

“I visited the new Indian restaurant Chakra in Notting Hill and the food was superb! Try the Lamb chops and the Yam chaat. Wonderful decor & service made us stay till we were kicked out... a definite visit for Indian food lovers...”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Arvind Vaccha, London (6 years 10 months 3 days ago)

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