The fine dining brand Chakra has moved from west London’s Notting Hill to Holland Street. It’s just a stone’s throw away from the shopper’s paradise that is High Street Kensington. After you’ve shopped till you’ve dropped and want to get away from the hustle and bustle, you can stroll into Chakra on Holland Street and take a break with an indulgent meal in calming cool surroundings emphasised by the decor of the grey muted walls adorned with black and white images of India. Add a comment
f you’ve become awash with tea and cake recently and would like to try something a little more left-field at the weekend, there’s another spicier way to spend your Sunday. Benares has come up with a delectable menu of tapas style plates of Indian dishes for those who fancy a lazy hazy afternoon of chilling out. Set in the heart of London, Benares still evokes a feeling of being far far away from the hustle and bustle of Sunday shoppers.
Known as Atul’s All-Day Sunday Brunch, Benares has opened it’s doors on Sunday for this Indian style feast presented from midday through till ten o’clock at night.
First off, pick from either a vegetarian or traditional brunch menu. Then you begin with a veritable selection of lipsmacking starters ranging from Masala Omelette to Tempered Dhokla - a steamed savoury cake to a Chicken Tikka Caesar Salad and Amritsari Sea Bass. The tapas dishes are served in beautiful tableware which gives an air of fresh and alfresco eating - perfect for the summer months ahead. The Tandoori Broccoli was melt in the mouth marvelous as were the Lamb Seekh Kebabs.
After the opening courses, cute little saucepans arrived with coconut laced Mangalorean Chicken Curry, a Malabar Fish Curry and a hearty Sweet Corn and Spinach Stew amongst other flavoursome curry based dishes; all accompanied by a selection of Tandoori Bread, spiced Pulao Rice and a northern Indian Boondi Raita - a yogurt salad. The food was seasonal yet indulgent, a theme which carried on into the mini desserts. My favourite was the almost deconstructed Black Forest Gateau and the Pineapple and Coconut Sorbet. Or for further extravagance opt for the nutty and creamy Pista Kulfi. Both equally good, but you have to choose (why Atul why?).
It’s a well balanced brunch with subtly spiced dishes that you could eat all afternoon and, for just for a few hours in a hectic life, forget about everything and regroup.
The price of Sunday Brunch at opulent Benares is a reasonable £45 per person that includes either a thick and rich Lassi - an Indian yogurt drink or Atul’s Signature Sauvignon Blanc which is well worth a try. The sommelier Vincenzo explained the notes which had hints of pineapple. It was crisp, fresh and smooth. The flavour was not too overpowering and you were left with a relaxing and comforting warmth to your palate. I’d say it was a spot-on match with the food.
A brunch is a combination of breakfast and lunch eaten usually during the late morning so I’d advise to skip both those meals before you head to Benares to savour the flavours and decadent atmosphere of Atul’s All-Day Sunday Brunch. So go on, spoil yourself.
12A Berkeley Square
Tel: 020 7629 8886
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Andy and Arjun Varma have tweaked the A la Carte menu at Chakra most recently with some lipsmacking additions to their spicy fare.
The Malai Kebab ke Dande - skewers of chicken breast marinated in cream, yogurt and northern Indian spices have a freshly baked tandoori feel and are light enough as a starter dish. While the Kamal Kakdi ki Chaat. This authentic Indian vegetable known as lotus root that’s been tossed with red onions and coriander leaves and drizzled with a tangy tamarind chutney and green relish is well worth the experience. However, if you fancy more of an indulgence, the Patiala Chops - English lamb chops cured in a blend of warming garam masala and cardamom are extremely popular with regular diners.
In terms of the main menu, the Adraki Gosht - a rich lamb curry in fresh ginger is a must for the doyens of traditional northern Indian fare. A side of south Indian Asparagus Poriyal which is seasonal baby asparagus mixed with green beans sauteed in Indian herbs and cooked al dente complement the Adraki Gosht favourably. Another vegetarian delight is the Navratan Korma that’s fabulous with Tandoori Rotis. The creamy and lightly spiced medley of mixed vegetables combined with fresh pomegranate and black grape makes the use of seasonal fare in an innovative and tasty way.
The selection of biryanis is awesome and can be eaten without any other accompanying dishes besides a raita (an Indian yogurt salad). There’s a rich sauce that comes with the rice dish.
A celebration of Punjabi cooking comes in the form of the Chakra style of Butter Chicken that’s synonymous with the hearty Indian state. Lean chicken is cooked in a rich buttery based tomato gravy garnished with boiled egg. The Chakra Black Cod that’s roasted in a tandoor (clay oven) after being marinated in lime and cracked black pepper remains on the menu and rightly so for its uniqueness and flavour.
The homemade refreshing Mango Kulfi with lime curd rounds off the spiced cuisine nicely. Although my favourite still has to be the Apple Sponge Pudding seasoned with nutmeg and cinnamon and served with an elderflower mousse. The chocoholics amongst us can opt for the Gooey Chocolate Melt with cardamom ice cream. But if you’re indecisive, just get all three!
The menu is laid out in a simple and straightforward way and the staff are there to assist you with your choices. There’s something for everyone and if you cannot eat everything you wanted in one session, then you’ll just have to return for a second helping.
157-159 Notting Hill Gate
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