Arab Twist to Chapati and Karak near Harrods
By Aku Fu
Opposite world famous Harrods on Brompton Road is a popular hangout called Chapati & Karak that’s an export from Doha which features Indian chapati and karak chai, or intense tea, and is certainly original.
Its originality is largely down to the fact that offers a small menu that only really offers a variety of different types of chapatis and teas – a strategy that’s a massive plus point for me.
Going there for a family brunch, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect. Although the name may conjure up images of a dirty little stall dispensing street food fry-ups and a large cauldron of over-cooked tea dished out with a long ladle, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
This little restaurant easily fits the plush surroundings and Arab multicultural demographic common to the area.
As such, the clientele was largely Arab interspersed with a mixture of Knightsbridge’s tourists. With an Arabian look to the venue, the decor did conflict with the South Asian menu.
In any case, we ordered a spread of chapatis and two styles of the karak tea, all of which lacked in presentation coming wrapped in paper and takeaway cups.
The chapati is not what I am used with my home made Pakistani roti and paratha. These guys use a more street market food style Mehda flour, that’s plain white flour, rather than whole wheat flour.
But since variety is the spice of life, we revelled in our food, with one chapati offering so many options, like different flavours of doughnuts, pancakes or waffles.
The idea is outstandingly unique, and I am surprised it doesn’t have more branches around London.
I know there are similar places like Roti King which do paratha rolls, but surprised there aren’t any more.
We liked the cinnamon sweet chapati, which was cut into little easy-to-share squares, as well as the egg/ omelette and cheese chapati.
There was also a sweet and cheddar cheese one which was nice, while the omelette one had cream cheese in place of the cheddar.
Having shared four chapatis between two adults and two children, we were left a bit hungry and wanting more.
And if we were to order another, it would certainly be the egg chapati.
Given its Arab twist, i.e. the addition of condensed milk, the tea was very sweet and thick.
I also found the Cardamon tea to be sweeter than its non-cardamon counterpart with both being equally sweet, and heavy and indulgent.
So much so, in fact, that one of our kids found it a bit sickly resulting in me happily finishing it off.
In the end, we preferred the Cardamon tea.
We decided not to try the Ginger milk after being told it wasn’t very “karak”, meaning it wasn’t cooked long enough to give it that depth of flavour and texture.
Service was good, although I’ve seen better, and there’s outside seating, as well as a carpeted floor near the entrance with cushions for additional atmosphere.
This place, I am told, also becomes full to the brim in the early evening.
Overall, despite its pricey London menu, Chapati & Karak is definitely worth a try.
And it would be great if these types of places opened up on the outskirts of London.
Chapati & Karak
144 Brompton Rd,
London SW3 1HY
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 9:00-23:00, Fri-Sun 12:00-23:00