Chakra is a new Indian restaurant in Inglewood and to which we were invited to try out a range of their dishes. It is a beautifully set up place on the corner of Beaufort St and Seventh Avenue, with Indian furnishings, lights and colour adding to its allure.
The owners, Sonia and Kumar, were the epitome of good hosts, welcoming us and running through the menu with us and highlighting their cooking philosophy – whole spices in lieu of ground, mild chilli to allow the delicate flavours and aromas to emerge.
The menu covers both a range of traditional Indian dishes – butter chicken, korma, vindaloo and the like – as well as a modern take on classics – here you will see something a little different from the mainstream.
We began with beef cones – these are a twist on samosa – the pastry is shaped into an open cone and filled with a mildly spiced meat (or paneer for a vegetarian version), while tamarind and date chutney adds a lovely mix of sweet sour and chilli flavour. They come in a glass of puffed lentils which are also something a touch different and absolutely delicious.
Grilled scallops came next, these are barely seared retaining all their plumpness and juiciness, and a splash of tomato and roasted capsicum chutney provided complementary flavour notes.
We loved the soft shelled crab with its wonderfully light tempura batter and juicy, succulent meat – mango chutney, paprika sauce, crunchy fresh green salad added to the delights of the dish.
Our final entrée were onion and spinach fritters, Chakra’s popular take on onion bhaji – light batter, fresh ingredients make for a fantastic dish – and they come served in a hollowed out log – a bit of eye catching presentation. These were particularly delicious.
For our mains we ordered barramundi which was served with Madras curry sauce, lemon rice and puffed fox nuts (the seeds of lotus water lilies) – the fish was moist, succulent and luscious – the mild sauce perfectly attuned to the flavours of the delicate fish.
Chicken biryani was served in a clay pot – layered with rice, fried onions, nuts, vegetables, and wonderfully tender chicken. The pot was sealed with a pastry topping which when opened releases the all the aromatics you expect – cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, coriander, ginger– and came with served with beetroot yoghurt.
Finally we tried pulled beef empiler, a mound of rice, topped with kachumber, and tender, mildly spiced pulled beef – brilliant dish and very popular, too, in the short time they have been opened.
We were also tempted by a couple of amuse bouche served before our starters and then again before our those mains – the first was panipuri, hollow, crisply fried puri filled with mint chutney –while the second was a small triangle of paneer, dusted in besan flour and fried, sandwiching a filling of mint. Both provided a great introduction into the skills of the kitchen – delicately flavoured, beautifully presented.
Chakra is licenced and we enjoyed a bottle of Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Sauvignon with our meals and we couldn’t go past the offer of a glass of mulled wine – warm, sweet and rich with great fragrance, just the thing for a winter night!
Chakra has only been open a short while and seems to have quickly built up a following – the food is excellent and a little outside the mainstream, the welcoming ambience beckons all who pass by. It really is a great addition to the Inglewood strip – do yourself a favour and get along soon!
Disclaimer: We were the guests of Chakra.