Indian cuisine is something I LOVE. Sadly, for the best part of a decade, we’ve not enjoyed dining at Indian restaurants like we used to – which is down to a certain Little Chef. We had a win recently with our fussy eater. He suddenly decided he liked butter chicken. I could have wept with happiness!
When an invite to Beaufort Street newbie, Chakra, landed in my inbox I jumped at the chance to try it out, especially when I learned that it’s child friendly. We could have our biryani and eat it too!
We were welcomed into the stylish dining room, adorned with Indian lanterns and plush red and gold, by our hosts Sonia and Kumar. Chakra is very inviting and a lot more on trend than your average suburban Indian eatery. Chakra is best described as a modern Indian. In the words of Sonia it’s “Indian-ish”. Whilst the methods of cooking and recipes remain authentic, the modern presentation freshens it up and gives the food a fresh breath of life.
The first thing I noticed when we walked in was that the room was full of exotic, aromatic flavours .While we looked over the menus, Little Chef was kept occupied with some colouring in. He did a good job!
Sonia and Kumar took us through the menu and said they’d send out a selection of entrees and mains for us to try. First came the beef cones. These are a fresh take on traditional beef samosas, are filled with meat, sautéed onion and tomato. Chef tells me the carom seed flavoured cone is absolutely delicious and Little Chef scoffed the other. I love it when he’s feeling adventurous!
I loved the seared scallop dish, served on a bed of roasted capsicum and tomato chutney, with Nigella seeds (DF,GF). The scallops were deliciously plump and complimented by the flavoursome chutney.
The soft shell crab dish was excellent. The moist crab meat encased in the lightly spiced tempura batter in Vodka. On the side is mango chutney, paprika sauce and a dressed green salad.
Onion, kale and spinach fritters, a fresh take on the traditional onion bahji, are served in a hollowed out log! Another gluten free dish, these fritters are a lot lighter and less oily than a bahji and packed with flavour.
A lovely bite sized amuse bouche is the panipuri. A hollow, crisp ‘bubble” filled with mint chutney. It literally bursts in the mouth. It’s a deliciously different flavour explosion and we love it.
I thought I’d choose an authentic drink to go along with my meal and enjoyed the rich and creamy mango and avocado Lassi, topped with pistachio shavings.
All kids meals are served with juice… and a smile! And its good new mums and dads – there’s not only curry on the kids menu! Chicken tenderloins and chips are available for little ones that aren’t into curry. Little Chef really enjoyed his butter chicken with steamed rice.
Next up were a selection of mains from their modern “signature” menu. I don’t usually choose a fish curry and I was impressed with this barramundi in madras curry sauce (GF, DF). The barra was incredibly well cooked – moist and bursting with flavour. On the side was a lemon rice, coconut and puffed fox nuts.Pulled beef empiler (GF) is a delish dish. Piled high are layers of crisp kachumber salad, rice, pulled beef and topped with crunchy chickpea puffs. This all sits on a bed of pea and cauliflower sauce. We love a bit of pulled meat and the beef is tender and tasty.
Chicken biryani (GF) is cooked in an ancient ,traditional way with a pastry lid. Keeping the rice inside incredibly moist. Served with a beetroot yoghurt.
Chef cracks open the shell, to reveal the biryani inside.
If you’re a traditionalist and have your Indian stapels, you can order traditional mains like butter chicken, chicken tikka masala, lamb korma , madras, rogan josh, vindaloo and more! We also relished cheese and garlic naan bread. I was SO pleased to see that they also have a gluten free naan available, and it tasted almost as good as the real deal. Little Chef was stoked with his dessert – chocolate naan!
The Indian desserts are also a little different to what you may expect. A wheat bubble filled with a fennel ice-cream, cinnamon crumble and lychee jelly was an interesting flavour combo.
A pineapple halwa, with creamy vanilla bean ice cream, topped with pistachio and almonds was a hit with Chef, though we were really struggling for tummy space at this point!
My favourite had to be the simple pana cotta with saffron dipped Ras malai (little balls of paneer that are soaked in flavoured, thickened milk) in rose syrup.
To finish, a infused herbal tea, which aids digestion. Handy, as we’d just eaten A LOT of food!
Thank you to Sonia, Kumar and the Chakra team, the service was second to none and you made us feel like Maharajas! It was lovely to meet you and experience Chakra.
We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at Chakra and would happily return as paying guests. It’s always hard to gauge if you’d receive the same excellent level of service as we did, being invited guests, but I can tell you that the food was very well cooked and so flavoursome. I glanced over the prices and they seemed fairly reasonable too. Chakra is an innovative Indian indeed!
We dined as guests of Chakra Restaurant.