Comfortably nestled in a row of restaurants on Brompton Road sits the newest import from the Gulf; Chapati and Karak. Straight from the Qatari capital of Doha, this franchise offers a homely Arab classic in an authentic and luxury setting. Chapati bread and karak tea, are the main selection on this limited menu. The famous any-time food and drink combination can be enjoyed throughout the day, although it is traditionally enjoyed for breakfast. The Arab version of a coffee and croissant if you will.
The karak is a strong tea made with indian herbs, laced with rich milk and sweetened. Cardamom spices are often added to karak too but this is optional at the cafe. This does give a strong acquired taste, so unless you’re familiar with it, you should probably opt for the karak sans cardamom. The chapati is delightful, fresh from the oven, and the perfect accompaniment to the hot karak tea. The sweet chapati is heavenly with just the right amount of sweetness to balance out the karak… superb! Chapati and Karak now serves Chapati with a sliver of cheese filling. We haven’t tried this out yet but the maitre D’ told us it was a hit. A great additional option, which means one can head to the cafe for the purpose of dessert or a light meal.
Although the only extras on this menu are green tea, red tea, mint tea, and ginger milk (yum!), the cafe is extremely popular and it’s often impossible to get a seat. Step into this small inviting abode and one will understand why. The sights, smells, and atmosphere of the alluring Gulf are thriving in this Arabian hideout. On entry, one immediately is drawn to the traditional ‘majlis’ seating area where guests can sit on the floor as is custom in many Arab households. Archways that lead into seated-booths line the left of the cafe, whilst classic table and chairs fill the right. The upholstery, elaborate paintings, wood and stone decor, and stained glass windows are beautifully reminiscent of the Arabian Gulf. Whilst old, slow, Arabic melodies play softly in the background, the closeness of the seating and the low danchal ceiling enhance the laid back and communal feel that is typical of the Arabs. This is a classic Arabian experience with all the trimmings, an exhilarating portal to another world. Being here reminds one what is so special about London; the fact that there are doors to all corners of the world in this one city.
TDM Rating: 10