Sunday, 12 August 2012

Restaurant Review: Chatkhara, Elephant & Castle

Saag aloo

To celebrate my final night in Kennington I went out for dinner with my good friends Ed and Vix. We decided to try an Indian restaurant I'd seen on the nearby Walworth Road. When I'd previously walked past, the tandoor at the front of the restaurant was churning out breads and it was packed with Indian customers.

On this particular Wednesday evening it was empty and looked decidedly less inviting. We stood on the pavement outside having the classic "shall we, shan't we" conversation and eventually plucked up the courage to go inside. Seeing a few people enter the shop as we were dithering on the pavement helped us make up our mind.

 Lamb saag

Along one side of the restaurant a range of curries laid out. You make your selection, the curries are heated up and brought to your table. The style of the restaurant reminded me quite a lot of the locantas I'd seen in Turkey.

The young man serving us wasn't overly communicative when we asked for suggestions, so we made a few random choices (after another bout of indecision) and took our seats.

 Chicken Korma

Easily my favourite dish of the night was the lamb saag (£4.50). Fall apart tender pieces of lamb were served with spinach in an a aromatic and spicy sauce. It had real depth and interest that kept me going back for more.

We also ordered a saag aloo (£3.50) which had a similar appearance to the lamb dish, but was made with potatoes instead. Sadly although looking like the lamb saag, it didn't come with the same great blend of spices and was a little less interesting.


Our final two curries were a chicken korma (£4.95) and tarka dal (£3.50). The chicken korma was slightly sweet and the almonds were an easily flavour to detect. The dal was another solid offering.

Accompanying our curries we had a selection of breads. The paratha (£1.25) was a favourite for is bready simplicity and the peshwari naan (£2) was covered in melted butter / ghee and filled with coconut and currants. It almost could have been a dessert.

Peshwari Nan

To wash everything down we had a huge jug of mango lassi (£7). We'd only ordered two glasses of lassi and were a little surprised when a whole jug arrived, however, none of us were complaining once we'd tasted it.

We had quite a feast for under £26 which is incredible value. If we could root out a few more gems like the lamb saag, this place would be an exceptional find.

84 Walworth Road
Chatkhara on Urbanspoon


  1. I've only been through Elephant & Castle on a bus bound for East Dulwich and always wondered what the eateries were like there. The lamb saag looks delicious and I'm amazed at the prices. It's the first time I've seen a lassi priced higher than a curry!

  2. I'm not sure the E&C is known for its eateries, but this one was a little gem. I hadn't registered that the lassi was more expensive than the curries, but you're right!

  3. So cheap. But I would say that living in Sydney.

  4. You hit the jackpot with this place. One of my favourites. Well done.

    Many turn their noses up at it because it is, let's be honest, quite a scruffy canteen and the quite grim surrounds of Elephant.

    But what great curries, and what prices! Super lamb every time, fantastic dhals. Difficult to go wrong really though some of the reheated tandooris ain't so fresh.

    Anyway, well done for trying this place on your trip. Let's keep it secret!

    1. If you have any other tips for great SE London cheap eats let me know!