To say I have lived down in the south for ten years now, I have still not explored all of the places that are close by to me. Kingston-upon-Thames, for example, is not all that far from me, but I can count on one hand the number of times that I have been. I am starting to wonder why as it is a really love day out there, being close to London, but not too busy, and there are some great shops and restaurants, all based along the Thames. So it is pretty cute too!
One of the restaurants that we are lucky enough to go and try out recently was Chakra, located right along the river and the bridge, so the views are great; it is a pretty popular spot. For those of you that don’t know, it is an Indian restaurant, with a great range of food on the menu, catering for all different dietary requirements, so there really is something for everyone. Being a vegetarian that prefers to avoid dairy where possible, I think Indian food is one of the best things to have, as there is a lot of great tasting veggie food and lots of use of coconut milk instead of cow’s milk.
The first impressions of the restaurant was to start with, that the location is pretty great. Right by the main John Lewis building and car park and right by the river, makes for a really great spot. We were lucky to be there on a (cool) sunny day, so it was lovely to be in that area and watching the rowers and boats out on the water.
The decor of the restaurant is pretty stunning too, a real ‘art-deco’ vibe with some funky prints and really pretty colours. There was one wall with mirrors and pictures on and I’d really like a similar wall in my own house. I know you are probably more focused on the food, but I think the environment that you are eating in is really important too.
What We Ordered
To start off with, we ordered drinks, with some sparkling water, a mango lassi for the husband and a passion fruit mocktail for me; absolutely amazing, I might add. There was plenty of choice on the drinks menu.
For starters, I went for the Avocado Ke Gole, which is avocado dumplings served with pickled beetroot purée and mustard kewpie. It had me at avocado to be fair, but it was honestly increadible. The pickled beetroot purée was so tasty and it all created a match made in heaven. I would eat these again and again, they were so good. The husband chose the Bhati Ka Chicken Wings: spiced grilled chicken wings, served with coriander and Granny Smith chutney. Being the meat eater of the two of us, I was assured that the wings were really tasty. He asked for them pretty spicy and that is what he got (he’s like the hot sauce king, so the more spice the better).
For our mains, we did ask for some recommendations, and ended up going for the Sunhari King Prawn for the husband, which was chargrilled, carom seed and spiced yoghurt marinated king prawn. I chose the vegan option of Baingan Bharta, which is smoked aubergine mash, cooked with garlic, chilli, and tomatoes. We also had sides of Peshawar naan, rice, creamed spinach, and the Dal Makhani (slow cooked black lentils & kidney beans). Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and some of the dishes came out looking a little like baby food, as they’d been creamed or pureed. But as soon as I tasted them they were all amazing; there was’t a single one that I didn’t like. The tastes were varied, but worked well together, and it was amazing what you can do with some aubergine and spinach to make them taste incredible.
We visited on a Saturday lunchtime, so it will have been quieter than an evening I think, but the service really was great. We asked questions, they were polite and gave answers or opinions, and they were attentive and friendly. It was a great restaurant to visit and the service didn’t let the amazing food down at all.
Overall, I couldn’t really find anything to fault Chakra; the food was great, the service was great, the drink were great, the location is great, and I think the prices are totally reasonable, very competitive with other Indian restaurants that I go to (plus, the portions are pretty generous, we couldn’t eat it all and were offered to take some home if we wanted, a nice touch).
If you are in Kingston anytime soon, I would really recommend heading over to Chakra for lunch or dinner; you’ll be impressed.
*we dined as guests of Chakra, but all opinions are my own. I will only recommend things that I would use again and pay for myself.