What: Chokhi Dhani is known in India for their smart hotels and restaurants and Chokhi Dhani London makes for the group’s first overseas venture.
New? Chokhi Dhani opened in April this year and we attended the VIP launch with the likes of Professor Green, Pixie Lott and Roman Kemp – shameless namedrop, us?!
First Impression: Getting to Chokhi Dhani feels a bit like leaving civilisation, houses and shops get left behind as you walk down the lonely main road, lined with high rise blocks of flats. Once inside the Indian theme is strong and brimming with colour and trinkets to look at, make sure you nab a river-facing seat so you can people watch.
On The Menu: While London (and England) is brimming with amazing Indian restaurants, what is missing are restaurants from the region of Rajasthan, a northern Indian state bordering Pakistan – enter Vishnu Natarajan, formerly Executive Head Chef at Carom in Soho.
The Look: It feels a little bit like entering an Indian palace as everything is made of rich dark wood while upstairs Mughal arches frame the dining area. The tables have glass covers which show off various trinkets, more of which are in cabinets on the ground floor where a colourful mural takes up the wall on one side.
What We Ate: Thali is normally enough for one person as a whole meal but I am a champion of excessive eating I decided to add some starters into the mix first; my favourite being the aloo tikki consisting of a potato cake with brown beans and peas, more exciting than it sounds and certainly more appetising sounding than a starter of lamb brains which was also available.
There is an a la carte menu but I decided for thali to try as much as I could, it comes in a vegetarian form. The paneer curry with raisins tapped at my sweet tooth while the ghee soaked doughball went perfectly with the dhal, it’s finished off with a touch of a ground nut and sugar mix.
For dessert, chef’s selection of “baad mein medley” was ideal to try a little bit of everything but if you want that classic Instagram opportunity then the chocolate sphere is the way to go as hot chocolate is poured over the dome until it melts.
What We Drank: I love sweet cocktails and luckily Chokhi Dhani has a signature cocktail list with drinks like Bollywodka made with Belvedere vodka, passion fruit, raspberry, pineapple and vanilla, and Panicolada made with Appleton rum, pineapple, masala, coconut water and cinnamon.
Go With: Those that love Indian food but aren’t expecting anything they’ve had before, no Chicken Tikkas to be found here.
Where: Riverlight Quay, 2 Nine Elms Lane SW11 8AW www.chokhidhani.co.uk
Final Word: I love Indian food and have scoffed down more than my fair share, from my local curry house to Michelin-starred experimental set menus. At Chokhi Dhani, Vishnu has managed to introduce new flavours, just when I thought I had tried it all.
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