Friday, 24 February 2012

Bannatyne’s Hands, Lineker’s Breasts & Notting Hill’s New Indian Restaurant

By Sophie Marie Atkinson

Duncan Bannatyne [of Dragon’s Den fame] has hands the size of shovels. I know this from the vast proportions of time that I've spent across the road from his house/office/gym with binoculars pressed against my nose.

Just kidding. I’m a Peter Jones girl myself.

I actually know this fact about Mr Bannatyne because that particular Scottish man was present at the VIP launch of party of Notting Hill’s upmarket Indian restaurant, Chakra, last week. Along with former Atomic Kitten Liz McClarnon. Natch. 

Incongruous celebrities aside (apparently Gary Lineker and his unfeasibly young, attractive wife were also in attendance) the evening was a chance for the staff of Chakra to showcase some of their stylish cooking (and fabulous skin-tight bright red dresses) using a fine selection of wines and nibbles (wouldn't you know it, the Champers had run dry by the time I arrived).

Fit to bursting with well-heeled individuals, all of whom were significantly fancier than I, Chakra’s decor is as sophisticated as its patrons; all chandeliers and dimpled leather walls.

The rather steeply-priced restaurant (you’ll pay almost as much for a main course as Danielle Lineker probably paid for her breasts) was opened late last year by chef Andy Varma, formerly of Vama in Chelsea. Rumour has it he travelled across India to track down authentic recipes from Lucknow, Hyderabad and beyond.

The menu at the chi-chi venue boasts dishes like coriander and garlic lamb chops, smoked tandoor tiger prawn, venison (not often seen on the menu of an Indian restaurant), roast quail (see previous parentheses) garlic scallops and Masala asparagus.

It’s hard to judge food when you’ve had to elbow other media types out of the way to get your mitts on a spoonful of Biryani, but the dishes that I was able to sample at Chakra were pleasing and delicately well-flavoured.

So if tasty, though expensive, Indian food is your thing, head on down to Chakra. I personally am still heart-broken that Spencer and Hugo from Made in Chelsea weren’t in attendance, as rumoured. That would have been totes amaze.


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