A Tale of Two Chakras
Saturday, October 03rd , 2020
Chakra is a little Indian restaurant group (two branches, with a third soon to open in Barnes) with its head chef based in Kingston and a further property in Kensington. Not surprisingly, the Kensington branch was the smarter of the two, though the Kingston one has a pleasant riverside setting. The menus have a few more unusual items as well as classic north Indian dishes like butter chicken. The standard of cooking was similar at both, with very good chicken malai tikka and makhani dhal at the Kensington branch being the pick of the dishes that we sampled across the two separate evenings. Although there are better places around, such as the wonderful Dastaan in Ewell, both Chakras certainly represent reasonable value.
The Crown at Burchetts Green (pictured) near Maidenhead has a chef operating entirely on his own in the kitchen, and yet even given this constraint it has deservedly won a Michelin star. The classical French cooking uses high grade ingredients, such as a perfectly cooked fillet from a huge 10kg turbot that we tried at the meal this week, along with top notch French quail made into an elaborate dish where the bird was boned, stuffed with foie gras and basted with a glaze so that it emerged glistening when served. How this kind of complexity is possible with a single chef in the kitchen is a mystery understood only by chef/owner Simon Bonwick, whose son George runs the front of house.