The Chakraas, Samrat Hotel, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi

Chakraas is a multi cuisine restaurant in the Samrat Hotel. We found the food worth a trip or three.

I wasn’t expecting much at The Chakraas, partly due to the name, which didn’t sound exciting and partly due to it’s host, for obvious reasons. Entering, I found quite a large restaurant, with an open kitchen and two types of seating (tables and lounge) with about 135 covers. I’m not one for dim lighting and cannot fathom the association between fine dining and not being able to see your food. Whatever.

The menu at The Chakraas is quite vast. So vast in fact, it has a mini index of sorts at the beginning, the utility of which is somewhat hampered by the absence of page numbers. The liquor menu is average, but well balanced and the Long Island Ice Tea (325) I ordered was one of the nicest I’ve drunk. The last one I recall at TGIF, TGIP, NOIDA was watery in comparison.

My meal began with Nachos and Salsa (75); the Salsa was very good. Spinach and Asparagus Soup (165) followed, which was exceedingly delicious with crunchy bits of asparagus. I lapped up every last drop! The Salmon Carpaccio Salad (245) that came next wasn’t a Carpaccio as the salmon was cooked. Disappointing. Much better were the Bhigi Lal Mirchi Champen (455) that were spicy, and tender; I suggest a splash of lime if you order this dish when you visit The Chakraas. Corn Chili Pepper (295); cornflour coated, flash fried nuggets of corn tossed with brunoised onions and spices; ordinary and IMO, overpriced.

Butter Chicken (395) and Dal Makhani (325) with Rotis were my main course followed by Morish Lamb with Ratatouille (455). The Butter Chicken, boneless chunks of very tender chicken immersed in a vaguely sweet and subtly spicy tomato gravy, was nice and the rotis were just the way I like them. The Dal Makhani was one of the better renditions I’ve tasted; though it did leave a little to be desired.

My pick of the evening was the Morish Lamb. Shank of lamb, cooked till tender and falling off the bone, drenched in a vaguely piquant and rich brown sauce, served with Ratatouille and little mounds of creamy mashed potatoes. This was the second dish of the evening I polished off in it’s entirety. In retrospect a little bread would have been nice with the dish. I’d go back to The Chakraas anyday just for this dish, preceded of course by that lovely Spinach and Asparagus Soup.

Dessert as I recall was called a souffle, but was in fact a chocolate lava cake. Nice, unremarkable.

The service at The Chakraas needs big time attention. I cannot recall a single smile or any other property I attribute to great service. It therefore seems fitting The Chakraas doesn’t levy a service charge. Considering the food and ambiance is well under control, solving the service issue would make The Chakraas a much better place to visit.

The Samrat Hotel must be rubbing it’s hands in glee, what with hosting two great restaurants in an environment hitherto unknown for its culinary offerings. It does need to pull up it’s socks however; the washrooms were a crying shame and the lobby must pass it’s time in nostalgic remininsces of days gone long past.

Do visit The Chakraas, not once, but perhaps a few times till you find a few dishes in their vast menu that’ll keep you coming back for more of the same.

By Sid Khullar

Sid Khullar is a wellness coach who works with different aspects of lifestyle change towards the accomplishment of goals such as weight loss and blood sugar management among other health situations that require the presence of specialised, precise diets and lifestyle change. His methods address aspects of food, nutrition and the mind.