15 January, 2009

Taste of Malaysia Series 3 - Chakra Restaurant

In Sanskrit, “Chakra” refers to the seven points of the body associated with mediation – something that HFB was enlightened at Going Om. However, in Tamil, it simply refers to the chariot wheel. A pre-war house with eight rooms, that once housed 25 people under one roof, it has now been converted into a dining outlet for people searching for an Indian dining experience.

Instead of specialising one style of Indian cuisine, Chakra offers dishes from all over India’s sub-continent. Rumoured to be the only Indian a la carte restaurant in Johor Bahru, the top floor of this colonial bungalow were demolished to create a spacious dining area and the three bedrooms downstairs were converted into private dining areas.

With such a rich history and heritage, it is said that dining tables and chairs aside, most of the fixtures such as cabinets and side tables have been with the restaurants for decades.

The Plain Briyani (RM5.00) came with metal bowls and was served steaming hot. Although it is always comforting to be served rice that are warm, in this instance HFB would rather something lukewarm – so that the aroma of the spices from the briyani could be better appreciated.

The accompanied Poppadom was crustily delightful, and we actually requested for a second helping, and best part was – it came complimentary!

Alternatively, one could also opt to have their Garlic Naan (RM5.90) as their staple. Come served in 3 portions on a plate, the serving looked pretty modest but have a bite and your breath will guaranteed be reek of garlic – HFB loves a naan with strong garlic flavour!

The Mutton Khorma (RM18.00), which is essentially a dish of mutton cubes cooked in thick Coconut Gravy and usually with the addition of Red Chilli, didn’t exactly sit well with HFB. Not to mention it was gamy to begin with, the coconut gravy made the side dish too “heavy” to go along with the briyani.

The Gobi Mancurian (RM12.00), an originally Manchurian dish, was created by a group of Chinese immigrants who settled in the streets of Kolkatta. To cater to the vegetarian clientele, the Chinese used local vegetables such as Cauliflower, and spiced it up with their condiments brought from their homeland to create the Manchurian sauce – the result, a VERY spicy vegetable dish that was suitably for an Indian's palette.

It leaves a numbing sensation when consumed and it didn’t came as a surprise that it was the only dish we didn’t finished that night. Thankfully, the Mushroom Masala (RM12.00) was a much-needed reprieve. The mushrooms were cooked to the right chewy texture and goes really well with the thick and highly spiced gravy. This was everyone’s comfort dish for the evening.
However, no dishes could take away any credits from the megastar that evening – the Tandoori Chicken (RM17.90 for ½ portion). Traditionally roasted in a clay oven, or Tandoor, the chicken is usually marinated in Yoghurt and given a red hue by the spices. What sets Chakra’s tandoori chicken apart from the rest HFB had tasted thus far was their chicken are only roasted freshly upon ordered – therefore one actually gets to indulge the freshly roasted, charred exterior of the skin, which to HFB is sheer gratification (although the ignorant might not necessary take pleasure in - Heh)!!!

Dining mates had a Mango Lassie (RM9.00) and Masala Tea (RM2.50) each but HFB stick to his plain water instead to wash down his food.

Dinner was concluded with a thoughtful complimentary Indian Ice Cream dessert from the boss. Regrettably it was too sweet and HFB just wasn’t used to it.

Food: 3.5/5 (Hits and misses - but tandoori chicken was really good!)
Service: 4/5 (Generally accommodating and fast)
Ambience: 4/5 (Old colonial bungalow - how cool is that!)
Price: 2.5/5 (RM91.67 - very expensive in JB's standard)
Total: 14/20
1 Jalan Yusuf Taha
80100 Johor Bahru, Malaysia

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Charkra sounds familiar to me as I'm a Naruto fans. Anyway, the food are nice. You make me hungry at the mid of the night. :(

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