Sherman's Food Adventures: Chakra Indian

Chakra Indian

I'm very lucky to work in North Delta, where it is close to some of the best Indian food that can be found in the Lower Mainland.  I've had my fair share of good meals along Scott Road where you can never run out of tasty Indian eats (mostly Punjabi cuisine).  Now the same cannot be said about the neighbourhood that I live in.  Ah yes, North Burnaby, not really the hotbed of anything really (maybe some Italian), I am hard-pressed to find good Indian food.  However, we decided to try our luck out at Chakra out on Hastings.  In fact, after my first visit with Milhouse, we were sufficiently satisfied that we brought out more people to sample more dishes.

On our initial visit, we just had to get the standard, being the Butter Chicken.  This was quite good with tender morsels of dark chicken meat.  I realize that tandoori white chicken meat is normally used in this dish, but I really enjoy the dark meat more personally.  The sauce was creamy and rich with just enough tang.  There was also enough sweetness which provided some balance.  We asked for medium spice and there was some background heat.

Trying to get some veggies (sorta), we got the Palak Paneer.  It arrived with a bevy of paneer hidden within the spinach-based curry.  The paneer was soft and squishy just like it should be.  As for the curry, it was creamy and thick with layers of flavour including ginger, garlic and some spice.  I really enjoyed this version from its bright appearance to the flavours and textures.

One dish that we had ordered with both visits was the Lamb Rogan Josh since it was both delicious and full of lamb.  Just look at the picture, you can see the big chunks of tender lamb.  Of course this made this quite hearty and more than enough to share.  Beyond that, the curry itself was a good combination of discernible spices including the nutmeg, slight hint of cinnamon, cumin and cloves.  Of course there are a multitude of spices used in this curry, but these were the most obvious.

Much like the first visit, we needed to add one dish that had veggies in it (trying to give the appearance of being healthier), so we decided on the classic Aloo Gobi.  This featured abnormally large chunks of potato and cauliflower.  As a result, the textures were spot on.  The cauliflower was still firm (although cooked all-the-way-through) while the potato retained its shape (yet it was soft).  There was plenty of spices and flavour including a noticeable hits of onion, ginger and garlic.

Trying to get a variety of proteins, we decided to delve into seafood with the Prawn Vindaloo.  The biggest reason for choosing this is that we got the lamb rogan josh instead of the vindaloo.  Hey, we really wanted the tanginess of the curry.  It was almost a nice interlude between the heavier dishes such as the butter chicken and aforementioned rogan josh.  This featured deshelled prawns that were perfectly prepared being juicy with a rebound texture.

Since we had already tried the butter chicken, we had something different in the Chicken Tikka Masala.  However, the difference between the two wasn't as much as I hoped it to be.  Normally, tikka masala is much more tomato forward than butter chicken.  Although this was the case, I would've preferred it to be stronger in tomato tang.  It was quite creamy, just like the butter chicken.  About the chicken, it was breast meat in this version and it was a bit too dry.

Staying on the same theme of sorts, we had the Shahi Paneer which had similar traits to butter chicken as well.  It was just as creamy and rich, yet with a less tangy slant.  It was a bit sweeter, but to be honest, we didn't notice that much of a difference between that and the butter chicken curry. However, it was a touch less smooth.  The same soft and squishy paneer was in abundance hidden within the curry.

To change things up, we got the Lamb Tikka served on a hot cast iron plate.  This was well-charred where it was nicely smoky.  The marinade did come through with some spice, ginger and garlic notes.  Most of the lamb was tender and almost juicy.  There was the usual gaminess that was muted to a degree by the marinade.  With a squeeze of the lemon, it added acidity and the mint chutney on the side provided brightness and cooling.

In addition to the curries, we had actually grabbed a couple of appies including the Fish Pakora and Vegetable Samosas.  I found the pakoras to have an appealing texture where the batter was crispy and light while the fish was flaky and moist.  I would've liked a bit more discernible spices in the batter, but it didn't make or break the dish.  As for the samosas, they sported a crispy exterior that gave way to a nicely spiced potato and vegetable filling.  Definitely could pick out some spices where there was also a nice kick at the end.  As per usual, it was served with a sweet and tangy tamarind chutney.

Of course we couldn't forget about the carbs including the excellent Garlic Naan.  There was no absence of diced garlic atop the crispy naan that featured a soft interior.  It feature a nice elasticity and the naan itself was delicious even before we used it to soak up the delicious curries.  Overall, the food at Chakra is pretty solid especially considering its location.  North Burnaby is not known for good Punjabi cuisine but Chakra provides that option.

The Good:
- Solid eats
- Nice people
- Reasonable pricing

The Bad:
- Super nice people, but service could be more attentive
- Not the nicest dining space, but it is clean


Search this Site