Restaurant Review: Chakra - Fine Dining Indian Halal Restaurant in Kensington, London

Chakra Halal Indian Kensington London

Located on Holland Street, Chakra a fine dining restaurant in Kensington (London) serves Halal Indian cuisine and offers a tremendous variety on the menu to ensure there's something for everyone. Although still under the same ownership, the restaurant has now been extensively refurbished after being closed down for a period of time. However, Chakra has now reopened and has been relaunched with a new team and a new menu. 

Less than a minute's walk from our parking spot, Chakra was easy to locate, and since it was Sunday we didn't have to worry about any parking charges. This wasn't our first time at Chakra as we've already been there before and I have already reviewed it earlier on the blog, but it was lovely dining there again, and trying out the new dishes.  

Chakra Halal Indian Kensington London

Unlike the last time when it was chilly and wet, I opted for their outdoor area because it was an afternoon of pleasant weather and so an ideal setting. My family and I quickly settled ourselves and got ready to indulge in some goodness. Although it was early afternoon, we were prepared for a hearty meal as we had a very light breakfast at the hotel where we were staying and had walked quite a few miles to explore the lovely Bankside in the morning. 

As always, we started off with drinks and ordered a Mango Lassi (£6), Nimbu Pani (£6) and Planters Punch (£7). Chakra has a variety of alcoholic drinks, the non-alcoholic offering isn't non-existent but it is limited. There were 3 mocktails on the menu and we decided to try all three! In addition, they also serve soft drinks i.e. soda and juices as well as hot drinks. The Mango Lassi was just as it was expected, but the Planters Punch was something new for me. It was a combination of pineapple, orange and passionfruit juice which had been combined with pomegranate and coconut cream. It was brilliant - quite refreshing! 

Chakra Halal Indian Kensington London

Moving on to the starters and items from the tandoor (clay oven), the first ones to arrive were the Lamb Chops and Gilafi Sheek Kebab (£11.95). Both the dishes were served with salad and a slice of lemon. The lamb chops were tender and had been cooked to perfection, they simply melted in the mouth. The kebabs had been cooked using various herbs and the aromatic garam masala while the major ingredient was the lamb mince. 

Chakra Halal Indian Kensington London

Chakra Halal Indian Kensington London

The second batch of food served on our table were the starters. We opted for Murgh Moong Katchumber (£9.95) and a Samosa Chana Chaat (£6.50). It was my first time trying the Murgh Moong Katchumber and the main ingredients in the dish consisted of pieces of chicken breast, sprouts (moong) and tomatoes that had been mixed with flavoured spices. The starter was beautifully presented, and was full of colours. Both husband and I love a good Samosa Chaat and here we got a Punjabi samosa served with black chickpeas, topped with tamarind sauce, yogurt and sev. Generally, wherever we've eaten a Samosa Chaat in the different countries we've lived in, they serve it with the beige chickpeas. The use of black chickpeas wasn't at all a bad combo as they complimented well in the dish. 

The two types of chickpeas - desi and kabuli are both different in appearance as the desi ones are smaller in size and are darker in colour while the kabuli chickpeas are larger and lighter in colour and have a much smoother texture than the desi ones. Also, although the chickpeas come in a variety of colours - green, brown, black and red, the beige ones are the most popular and recognised. 

Both the dishes made great starters, but I like the Samosa Chaat more! 

Chakra Halal Indian Kensington London

Chakra Halal Indian Kensington London

For the side, we opted for Maa Di Dal (£5.95). Kadhai Jhinga (£14.95) came as a main with a garlic naan and lachha paratha to eat with. Chakra has a choice of breads to choose from, and all cost £3 each. Maa Di Dal is a Chakra classic and the black daal is cooked overnight on a clay oven, it was served with a dash of cream and made a great side! Kadhai Jhinga,  served in a copper serving dish was a prawn curry that had been cooked with aromatic Indian spices and other ingredients such as tomato, ginger and bell pepper. 

Chakra Halal Indian Kensington London

Chakra Halal Indian Kensington London

Chakra Halal Indian Kensington London

Although the starters and the mains above could have made a filling meal for 2, how could we not order a Lamb Dum Biryani (£12.95) when at Chakra! Cooked with special spices, the lamb is mixed with Basmati rice and is served with a raita and green salad. The raita consisted of yogurt mixed with cucumber, cumin and pomegranate. The biryani itself was served in a dish covered with a layer of kneaded dough that had been rolled like a flatbread for the dum. Not only the aroma was great, but the dish itself was brilliant! I simply loved the balance of spices and the overall flavour - hands down being one of the best dishes we tried at Chakra! 

Chakra Halal Indian Kensington London

Chakra Halal Indian Kensington London

Chakra Halal Indian Kensington London

Moving onto the last course, we ordered sorbet of the week that was a lemon and raspberry sorbet and Rasmalai (£5.95). The raspberry sorbet was a little sour when eaten alone, but the combination with the lemon sorbet which was slightly sweeter than raspberry was great! It was light and refreshing after an Indian meal and served as a palette cleaner for me. The Ras Malai was soft and sweet, and served with some chopped pistachios on the top. 

To finish the meal in a true Indian style, we also ordered Masala Chai (£3.50 each). 


Chakra Halal Indian Kensington London

Chakra Halal Indian Kensington London

We had a great time at Chakra, and luckily the lovely weather enabled us to opt for an outdoor sitting which was absolutely great! Although everything was enjoyable, my personal favourites from our visit to the restaurant were the Lamb Dum Biryani, Lamb Chops and the Samosa Chaat. Definitely try these dishes when you're at Chakra, a fine dining Halal neighbourhood Indian restaurant in Kensington that provides great service and is perfect for a meal out with family or even with friends. 

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Rating: 8/10 
Pricing: Fine Dining 
Halal Options: Everything is Halal
Child-Friendly: Yes, sitting is child friendly but not sure about baby changing.
Alcohol Available: Yes
Location: 33C Holland Street, Kensington London W8 4LX
Contact: 020 8541 5757
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Riviera & Provence - Top two family holiday bucket list destinations in France!

Riviera & Provence - Top two family holiday bucket list destinations in France!

Located in Western Europe, France is a country with everything from medieval cities to the breathtaking alpine villages, as well as the Mediterranean beaches, making it a country with something for every traveller! Famous for fashion houses and museums, not forgetting the famous landmarks such as the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, the capital of the country Paris is one of the top tourist destinations. However, there are many other popular cities in France that have gained much attention because of the beauty and the aspect of getting closer to nature. 

Nowadays, the travellers are looking for a lot more than sightseeing and roaming around the famous landmarks and many often plan a holiday primarily for relaxation. Camping has become quite popular but more than conventional camping, the travellers are now opting for a modern take on camping for a more luxurious experience.

Riviera & Provence - Top two family holiday bucket list destinations in France!

Travellers can choose from a plethora of places to stay at when opting for Provence and Riviera Holidays. They are two perfect family holiday destinations currently topping my bucket list.

Bordered by Italy and the Mediterranean Sea, Provence located in southeastern France has diverse landscapes from the Southern Alps, to the amazing lavender fields, vineyards and pine forests. Just towards the South is Nice and resort towns like Saint-Tropez and Cannes. Browsing through the photos of these locations totally leave me in an awe-stricken situation making me want to plan a holiday even sooner. Another destination, the French Riviera, is the Mediterranean coast of southeastern France that offers visitors to enjoy the glamorous beach resorts. This popular holiday destination is also connected to many coastal towns and villages. 
Riviera & Provence - Top two family holiday bucket list destinations in France!

With more than 190 beautiful locations across Europe, Eurocamp offers amazing opportunities to tourists to explore and see the beaches, forests, lakes, cities, and the mountains. Lots of people nowadays refer to outdoor holiday specialists that are self-catering or mobile home holidays to enjoy the holiday in their own pace. Eurocamp being UK’s leading European camping specialist offers various accommodation types, ranging from lodges to bungalows! 

Riviera & Provence - Top two family holiday bucket list destinations in France!

Traditional camping seems to be taken over by accommodation that provides quality and something that provides both outdoor space and staying indoor in style with all the comforts. Unlike traditional camping, Eurocamp provides everything one might need for a memorable stay such as flat screens and DVD players for entertainment, necessary kitchen essentials such as fridge and dishwasher for comfort and the other modern world amenities such as air conditioning and gas BBQs. With pre-bookable extras, the holiday makers can enjoy all the comforts of the home without having to worry about taking all the essentials, as they can be provided with welcome packs, linen & beach towel hire and free baby and toddler essentials like cots, high chairs & booster seats. The wealth of facilities offered at the Eurocamp holiday parcs such as pool complexes, spas and gym facilities, shops, bars and restaurants and kids club for all age groups can turn a family holiday into memorable events.


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The magic of herbalism!

The magic of herbalism!

Nowadays, we tend to associate the usefulness of herbs with flavours for foods and meals. Sage in our stuffing, thyme for our lemon chicken, basil for tomato sauces, we've been neglecting the other potential uses for herbs for a little while now. Herbs have a long history of medical benefits too, or for pleasing scents. Alongside evergreen shrubs retailer Suttons Seeds, we're spotlighting eight of the most useful herbs that you could grow in your garden:

Multi-functional Ginseng

A favourite in traditional Chinese medicines for thousands of years, ginseng is said to treat many things. With Panax ginseng the most widely studied of this species, it has been found to boost our mood, enhance our memory and increase concentration. As a natural detoxifier, it’s also said to boost our immune system and treat imbalances in our body, including blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels and hormones. However, it has been claimed that anyone with heart disease should avoid this herb or consult with your cardiologist due to the reported side effects, such as heart palpitations and insomnia. 

Rosemary for Remembrance

One of the essential oils that gives rosemary its scent is attributed to speed and accuracy in mental tasks, according to Northumbria University. The main chemical constituent in the herb is 8-cineole and by simply smelling rosemary, we are said to be able to score higher on tests and function better on a daily basis.

As the Bard himself said, "rosemary is for remembrance". Now, science backs him up!

The magic of herbalism!

Echinacea to Boost your Immune System 

With a high level of flavonoids, echinacea has some anti-inflammatory properties. It is said to hold immune-boosting qualities that promotes the activity of the lymphocyte cells that help eliminate viruses from the body. Promoters of the herb use it to combat an array of ailments, including: 

- Dizziness
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Acid indigestion
- Gum disease
- Migraines
- Diphtheria
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Flu
- Tonsillitis


The herb enjoyed a surge of popularity in the west during the late 1920s and early 1930s. It first was used as a treatment for the common cold, after a supplement maker from Switzerland believed it could prevent common colds after finding out Native American tribes in South Dakota used it for this reason. 

Sage Memories 

The word ‘sage’ has roots in Latin meaning ‘to save’. And it certainly had a life-saving reputation in the Middle Ages, with many using it as a way to try to prevent the plague. However, recent research found that the herb may be able to improve our brain’s functionality and memories, especially in people who have Alzheimer’s disease as sage inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine — something which drops in sufferers of the disease.

Basil’s Antiviral Properties 

Basil is a common feature on any herb rack. However, the plant also has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties that can halt osteoarthritis. Currently, it’s being used to combat digestive disorders and is the subject of studies looking into its anti-cancer properties. The essential oils found in basil are a good source of vitamin A, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. It’s also said that the oil can enhance dull-looking skin and hair when massaged into the skin, provide relief from the common cold and improve digestion. 

Holy Basil (the other basil)

Don’t confuse this herb with regular basil. Holy basil is considered to be a sacred herb in India and has been linked with reducing blood sugar levels. It has also been used to combat anxiety and any anxiety-related depression, with one study finding it increases certain immune cells which are found in our blood. However, as these studies have been relatively small, it’s anticipated that more research will be carried out to discover the herb’s true ‘powers’.

The magic of herbalism!

Spearmint for the Stomach

Spearmint is well-known for being less strong in scent and taste than its brethren. Its leaves carry menthol and is rich in many antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin A and vitamin C. It can help battle flatulence and hiccups, due to it relaxing your stomach muscles. Other benefits spearmint is used for includes relieving itching, dermatitis and hives when it’s used as a cream or lotion. It can also be used in aromatic therapy to help reduce head pains, fatigue and stress. 

Tarragon is Good for the Blood 

Sporting health-benefitting phyto-nutrients, tarragon is great for encouraging an appetite. In its fresh form, it is one of the highest antioxidant value food sources in common herbs. Studies have found that it helps to lower blood sugar levels and compounds found in the herb can inhibit platelet activation and prevent adhesion to the blood vessel wall. This can help prevent clot formation inside blood vessels in your heart and brain, which can protect from heart attacks and strokes. In dentistry, tarragon has been used as an antiseptic for toothache complaints, while tarragon tea is thought to help cure insomnia.

There’s so many more health-benefitting herbs than the snapshot we’ve covered here. Studies will continue to be carried out to firmly understand all the positive aspects of the herbs available to us. So, now is as good a time as any to head to your local supermarkets and stock up on those all-important herbs! 


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Top Things to Do & See at Bankside & Stay at Native Bankside - London

Top Things to Do & See at Bankside London

One of the popular districts of London and also part of the London Borough of Southwark, Bankside is located on the southern bank of River Thames where my family & I had the pleasure of spending one of our weekends. We stayed at the newly opened Native Bankside, just steps from the river. The check-in here starts at 3:00 pm and guests can find quite a few spaces on a paid street parking nearby. 

Native Bankside Hotel Apartment London

Just like I had thought, Native offers unique apartment accommodation enabling guests to feel at home the moment they step in. With a friendly and responsive reception staff backed by a full team working round the clock, Native can easily transform the way you’d like to stay. Twenty years ago, founder Guy Nixon initiated the idea of providing serviced apartments to extended stay travelers along with the flexibility of a hotel. Today this is still going strong and what a brilliant idea it has been indeed!

Guests can choose the size and budget to their liking and enjoy staying in furnished apartments offering both space and freedom. The neighborhood guide at the apartment always comes in handy for guests to explore the area and find the best nearby eateries and restaurants. 

Native Bankside Hotel Apartment London

Native Bankside Hotel Apartment London

Native Bankside Hotel Apartment London

Native Bankside Hotel Apartment London

Native Bankside Hotel Apartment London

With a fully equipped kitchen and dining area, there was no need for any room service and since London’s most popular Borough Market is at a walking distance from Native Bankside (0.4 miles, 8 minutes walk), it’s a brilliant idea to shop from the local market and bring back fresh ingredients to prepare a meal you fancy. Dating back to the 12 century, Borough Market is the oldest and largest food market in Southwark (London) and now selling specialty foods to the general public. Varieties of fresh juices, baked goodies, cheeses & meats are a highlight, but I was glad to discover Halal food sold as well. Arabica at the Borough market sells reasonably priced chicken Shawarma wraps and Beiruiti falafel wraps & bites. 

Native Bankside Hotel Apartment London

Native Bankside Hotel Apartment London

Native Bankside Hotel Apartment London

Native Bankside Hotel Apartment London

For the times when you are not in a mood to cook, many nearby restaurants at the Bankside can be great options, such as The Swan at the Shakespeare's Globe or Bala Baya, a Tel Aviv–styl eatery & bar for Israeli dishes. For Halal dishes, there’s Tas Pide, Halal Turkish restaurant located at the New Globe Walk (SE19DR), just a minute’s walk from Native Bankside. 

Our apartment had a kitchenette with all the cooking essentials including cutlery, plates, glasses, mugs, pots and pans, kettle, fridge, a hob and microwave. There was also a washing machine, detergent provided, good for guests staying longer. Native Bankside has a pantry located on the 1st floor. Open 24 hours, this was a real facility as we could go there anytime to get complimentary snacks offered to all the guests. BabyN’ loved to be here over and again to grab his favorite goodies. There are teas and coffee, chips, biscuits, water bottles and milk cans in the fridge, a variety of sweets and candies, tinned beans and tomatoes, jams, mustard, mayonnaise and uncooked pasta among others. Needless to say, with so many options, at Native Bankside you can easily attend to the growling stomach any time of the day.

Native Bankside Hotel Apartment London

Native Bankside Hotel Apartment London

Native Bankside Hotel Apartment London

We had two toilets with shower in our apartment, and both had luxury toiletries including hand & body lotion, bath and shower gel, shampoo and conditioner - everything by Elemis. Moreover, the toilets also had fresh clean towels and fresh bed linen were also provided in the bedroom. Native Bankside being a hotel apartment also offers ample storage space for the guests as well as hair dryer and iron facility that can be found in one of the cupboards. 

Native Bankside Hotel Apartment London

The comfortable sofas and seating in the living area made the late night TV session enjoyable with some complimentary tea and biscuits that we grabbed from the pantry. Nowadays since WiFi has become an important part of our lives, I believe it’s also essential for hotels to provide a good WiFi strength otherwise it gets extremely frustrating. BabyN’ enjoys watching YouTube videos before going to bed and I’m glad he didn’t complain about any streaming issues.

For the guests staying for a longer time, there’s also a weekly cleaning facility available and a gym for you to get rid of any extra calories. 
Native Bankside London hotel apartments

Native Bankside Hotel Apartment London

Native Bankside Hotel Apartment London

My family and I had a very memorable stay at the premium one bedroom apartment at Native Bankside and we would love to stay there again in future too. Since the apartments at the Native Bankside are unique, it’s advised to check for options on the website, for exact specifications. I really love the fact that Native Bankside has a very prime location and there are lots of things to do and see at the Bankside in London. The place is perfect not just for solo travel but couples and family travel too!

Native Bankside Hotel Apartment London

Important Information - Native Bankside, London
Check-in: 3:00 pm
Check-out: 1o:00 am
Parking:  Nearby paid street parking available at Emerson Street
(Mon - Fri 8:00 am - 6:30 pm & Saturday 9:30 am - 12:30 pm, paid)
Breakfast: Complimentary food and snacks available at the pantry
In-room amenities: Hair dryer, ironing facility, complimentary toiletries, fully equipped kitchen with tea/coffee & washer for laundry 
Location:  Empire Warehouse, 1, Bear Gardens, London SE1 9ED
Telephone: 020 7313 3886

Native Bankside Hotel Apartment London

Top FREE Things to Do & See in Bankside, London

Borough Market - Within an 8 minute walk (0.4 miles) from Native Bankside is the most popular Borough Market, also known as the oldest and the largest market in Southwark that sells specialty foods such as varieties of fresh juices, baked goodies, cheeses & meats. Please note that the market is mostly very busy, it opens from Monday to Saturday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm and is closed on Sundays. You might find a bargain if you visit the market before closing time especially on a Saturday! (Postcode: SE11TL)


Southwark Cathedral - Just 3 minutes (0.3 miles) of walk ahead of the Borough Market is the Southwark Cathedral that opens daily between 8:30 am & 5:30 am. The cathedral is free to enter but please note that the visitors need to pay £1 to get photography permission. The Sunday service was going on at the time when we visited, and it was a lovely sight seeing the devotees praying. The Southwark Cathedral is family and disabled friendly and also has a gift shop. (Postcode: SE19DA)

Top FREE Things to see in Bankside London

Golden Hind - One minute of walk further ahead of the Southwark Cathedral, you’ll see the Golden Hind. Captained by Sir Francis Drake, this English galleon is known for privateering circumnavigation of the globe between 1577 and 1580. The Golden Hind was originally known as Pelican, but was renamed by Drake in 1587 to honor his patron, Sir Christopher Hatton whose crest was a golden hind. The full sized ship still contains the original pieces of the galleon. Although the Golden Hind is free to see from the outside and the board outside will tell the visitors about the history as well, the entry is £5 per person & £15 for a family of four! 

Top FREE Things to see in Bankside London

Winchester Palace Ruins - This used to be an ancient 12th century palace that served as the London townhouse of the Bishops of Winchester. Located on the South bank of River Thames on the Clink Street, near the Southwark Cathedral, the visitors can still see the remains of the demolished palace where past is recorded in stone.

Top FREE Things to see in Bankside London

St. George the Martyr - The church, a Grade II listed building is located in the historic Borough district and has been named after Saint George. St. George the Martyr is strongly associated with Charles Dickens, his father was imprisoned for debt and the wall of the prison currently surviving adjoins the north side of the churchyard. During this time, Dickens lived nearby, and many scenes from his novel 'Little Dorrit' were set in and round the church. visitors can see a small representation of the novel in the East window of the St. George the Martyr church. (Postcode: SE1 1JA)

Millennium Mile - Stretching along the Thames between the Westminster Bridge and London Bridge lies the Millennium Mile where visitors can see many attractions as they walk past the area. Lots of crowds can be seen roaming around enjoying the views while some can be seen sitting peacefully and relishing a sandwich. The sunset view at the Bankside Pier is really beautiful and as the sun sets, the lights make the place look even more attractive. Moreover, visitors can also ride on a ferry, tickets can be purchased on the spot from the booth at the pier.

Top FREE Things to see in Bankside London

Southbank neighbourhood & Bankside Mix - Take a stroll around the Southbank neighbourhood and make sure to walk around the Bankside mix, one of the most vibrant leisure and retails destinations in London. The Bankside mix offers an array of shops, bars and cafes as well as restaurants and open spaces for children to play and run around. Located behind Tate Modern and the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, the Bankside Mix is an ideal place for a meal.
Top FREE Things to see in Bankside London

Shakespeare's Globe - Founded by Sam Wanamaker, the pioneering American actor and director, Shakespeare's Globe is dedicated to exploring the work of Shakespeare. The playhouse hosts lots of different plays written by Shakespeare and visitors can not just enjoy the performance, but can also educate themselves with his work. The Globe also has a shop for visitors to purchase souvenirs or gifts for themselves or loved ones, and a restaurant and cafe where they can enjoy a coffee or a proper meal. Although Shakespeare's Globe in London is free to enter, roam around, visit the shop or stop at the restaurant, the plays that run have a schedule and tickets have to be purchased to enter the playhouse. If you'd like to watch a play, I'd advise you to check the schedule prior to the visit and book the tickets because they sell out like hot cakes! 

Top FREE Things to see in Bankside London

Tate Modern - Free to enter, Tate Modern at the Bankside in London showcases  international modern and contempory art. It opens at 10:00 am till 6:00 pm on Sunday to Thursday and 10:00 am till 10:00 pm on Friday and Saturday. Check out their website about the update on the exhibitions currently running. (Postcode: SE1 9TG)

Top FREE Things to see in Bankside London

Bankside Gallery - The gallery opens daily between 11:00 am till 6:00 pm and is free to enter. Visitors can admire the work of the artists and also purchase paintings and artwork. (Postcode: SE1 9JH)

Top FREE Things to see in Bankside London


You can do all this in 24 hours and on foot, as all these places are near each other and generally cars can't enter some places. Let me know if there are any other free places or things to do at the Bankside that I may have missed. 


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