Friday, 30 September 2016

Chakra ~ Contemporary Indian Fine Dining

Over the years I have eaten at many Indian restaurants in and around London, offering varied regional cuisines such as Nepalese, Gujarati, Punjabi and Bengali food. Most of the restaurants offer a large menu and dishes are always prepared and served in a very traditional and authentic way. However at my recent visit to Chakra in Holland Street, near High st Kensington with my two friends Heidi and Manjiri, I was totally taken back at how different it was compared to other Indian Restaurants. Chakra have 15 years of experience behind them, they have used creativity and flair from artisan chefs and given Indian food a modern fine dining twist.

The restaurant is fairly small and decorated in a contemporary decor, the menu is select and we were intrigued to sample many of the dishes as they were indeed unusual.

We nibbled over mini poppadoms and drinks whilst we browsed through the menu.

The tropical fruit mocktail was colourful and very refreshing and a perfect start to the meal.

The menu is fairly concise but each dish sounded amazing, Chakra has taken the traditional Indian dishes served in Indian restaurants and given them a very fusion twist. Being a vegetarian I opted for the vegetarian starters whilst my friends ordered the chicken. We ordered 4 starters to share, Each was beautifully presented, cooked to perfection  and tasted amazing.

Sweet Potato & Pea Open Samosas & Tamarind Chutney- this starter was a twist of the pastry filled triangular samosas. It was beautifully garnished with fresh edible flowers.

The other three starters were equally nice. TheSpinach Galouti, Baby Spinach Fritters, Radish & Spinach Salad was beautifully seasoned and the spinach fritters were so moreish , I could have easily eaten a plateful.The Tandoori Paneer, Basil & Mint Chutney was ok although I felt that the flavour was a little bland as the paneer was cut in large chunks and the marinade did not reach inside.

I did not eat the Chicken Tikka, Mint & Coriander Spices & Chilli Chutney as I am vegetarian although my friends really enjoyed it.

For my main course I selected the Meloni dhal, this is urad dhal slow cooked with aromatic spices until it was rich and creamy, steamed rice rice and the purple potato and ivy gourd curry which was cooked with onions and tomatoes.We also ordered the raita  and basket of partha and nan breads to share which complimented the main course beautifully.

My friends chose to have the seafood biryani, the tandoori poussin and sides of sweet potato and okra which was cooked with onions, chilli and lime. Both of them gave the thumbs up for the dishes.

After eating such lovely starters and mains we had a little break before ordering desserts. Both Heidi and I opted for the Mango Kulfi served with fresh mango and mango sauce, whilst Manjiri opted for the Gulab Jamun Caviar with pistachio toast and cardamom cream.

The mango kulfi was served in the most unusual way, small slices of kulfi balanced on shot tubes filled with mango sauce were really delectable and the fresh mango was both sweet and tart giving you a refreshing flavour in your mouth.

The Gulab jamun caviar is something I was totally mesmerised with.Traditional gulam jamuns are walnut sized round balls soaked in sugar syrup, the gulab jamun caviar has the same flavour but were a work of art and patience.They were pea sized and served in a little caviar tin.We finished our meal with masala tea, coffee and mint tea.

In all our dinner at Chakra was very pleasant.We were guests of Chakra and all opinions and photos shared are of my own experience of the meal.

Ambience - 3.5/5
Service- 3.5/5
Food- 4.5/5
Total score 11.5/15

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Halloween Light Jars #Bostik Challenge

In my previous post I wrote about creating some Halloween place mats that my niece Little M and I created for her Halloween Party.

We also made some Halloween light jars to light up the room and give the party a spooky Halloween feel.

Making these Halloween Light jars are so easy and they really look very effective.The jars can be painted in any neon colour and they look super with battery powered T lights in them to light them up. The activity is fairly simple to do with children but supervision will be required. The painting part is the messy bit and I strongly advise that you cover your work space with lots of news paper and get your little ones to put on an apron or pinny.

For the Halloween light jars you will need:

Glass Jars
Acrylic Neon paint colour of your choice
Halloween themed ribbon to fit neck of glass jar.
Bostik glue
Black marker pen and pencil
Paint pot
Paint Brush
Battery powered T light

To see how to create these awesome Halloween Light Jars  watch the video below:

Being part of the Bostik 2016 bloggers with Tots100 and Merrily Crafts, I was sent some craft items in a box to create this project.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Halloween Place Mats #Bostik Challenge

Its that time of the month when the Bostik bloggers craft box drops through the letter box. This months theme is Halloween. The box had many Halloween themed crafty bits in it like plastic spiders, ribbons, foam bats and skulls and Halloween paper. Although its mid of September and October is not far off I am wishing that the Indian summer we are enjoying carries on and Autumn stays at bay, so its really hard to think about Halloween.

The last couple of months my regular crafter my niece Little M  has been absent but I am pleased that she is joining me for this post. Little M and I dived into the box to see what we could create. Little M enjoyed putting on the spider rings that were in the box, personally they gave me the creeps. We decided that we would make some place mats with a Halloween theme and Little M could enjoy a Halloween lunch of some red roasted pepper and houmous sandwich, some quavers, spiderweb jaffa cakes and Orange juice. You can see the place mat we made below and YES that awful black thing on the cup is the plastic spider that Little M was playing with!!!! The place mat is really simple but it made little M really happy.

Equipment you will need for Halloween Place mat:

Bostik Glue
1 sheet Black A4 card
1 sheet A5 black funky foam
Pre cut Halloween themed paper strips (I think these were the strips you make paper chains with)

To make the place mat:

1. Separate the Halloween paper strips from the sheet.
2. On the A4 black card stick all four strips on the outer edges with bostik glue to create a frame.If the strips are too long cut them to size.

3. In the centre stick the black funky foam to add strength to the mat.

Use the mat for a Halloween themed party.

Little M really enjoyed using this mat for a pre Halloween lunch. We are going to make a few more so that she can use them for a Halloween party..

Being part of the Bostik 2016 bloggers with Tots100 and Merrily Crafts, I was sent some craft items in a box to create this project.