Chaka Khan - An Exotic Raval Gem

 

What is not to love about Chaka Khan? This exotic Raval outpost is a wonderfully charming bar and restaurant that has it all: brunch, cocktails, and dinner, in two different variations. Chaka, the downstairs bar and restaurant, is casual, while the upstairs gastro bar Khan is an intriguing surprise with tasting menus.

Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

We had visited Chaka before, and tried their brunch and cocktails and loved it. The brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays to the tunes of a DJ. Brunch here is an international affair with influences from Russia, Philippines, Mexico, Bangladesh, South Africa, Japan, Thailand, and more.

Soft Shell Crab at Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

Soft Shell Crab at Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

The menu entices with soft shell crab, Banh Mi, different kinds of bowls, Bunny Chow (a dish with South African roots) and more, and upgraded classics such as pancakes with white chocolate sauce and Amarula cream or chili chocolate sauce. For brunch, there are some exciting signature cocktails (the Rise and Shine with vodka, chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, rice milk, and egg white particularly caught my attention).

Sawadee Cup cocktail at Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

Sawadee Cup cocktail at Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

The downstairs bar deserves a special mention, the cocktails here are A-MAZING. The mixologists are very skilled, and the cocktail menu is exciting. I loved the Sawadee Cup with rum, coconut, ginger, chili, kaffir lime, and ginger beer, and the Bustani Sour with a rosemary twist.

Aguachile at Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

Aguachile at Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

The food menu in Chaka consists of dishes to share, following the theme of exotic flavors from around the world: aguachile from Mexico, Yam Neua from Thailand, Piaju with Piri-Piri from Mozambique, Zeiton Parvadeh from Iran and much more. I LOVE when I see dishes on the menu I’ve never heard of, and when it’s dishes you share you can try lots of new things.

Khan upstairs at Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

Khan upstairs at Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

Khan restaurant upstairs is a different story altogether. The setting here is more intimate with a bar that surrounds the open kitchen. You can choose dishes from the menu, or go for a tasting menu, which I really recommend. Hop on the train and go to all the exotic corners in the world, with dishes you have most likely never tried before. You can sit right opposite the chefs preparing the dishes, and the staff will explain all the details of each dish when they are ready. It was truly magnificent: one fascinating dish after the other, with mind-blowing flavors.

Oysters at Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

Oysters at Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

Our tasting menu consisted of an array of dishes, starting with oysters. I really recommend oysters both downstairs at Chaka and upstairs at Khan: they have interesting versions such as a Mexican version with a jalapeño gazpacho. From there we continued with Jeow Mak Keua: a dip made with spicy grilled eggplant and plenty of mint and cilantro, and comes served with wonton chips. Such a delight.

Moroccan duck confit at Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

Moroccan duck confit at Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

The aguachile with hake and shrimp was fantastic, and one of my absolute favorites on the menu came next: a Moroccan duck confit with fig and pistachio that was absolutely mind-blowing. Another highlight was also without a doubt the Singaporean soft chili crab that came with a spicy tomato and white wine sauce.

Guatemalan chocolate ganache at Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

Guatemalan chocolate ganache at Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

Dessert here is a must. We loved the Guatemalan chocolate ganache that was presented with influences of the local “pan con chocolate,” served with olive oil and salt.

Chaka Khan really surprises. The staff is exceptionally friendly, and it’s the perfect place to go with your friends for some fun, or for a lovely dinner for two (particularly upstairs), and even suitable for groups. It’s a tropical and exotic gem, in the middle of Raval.

Chaka Khan, Carrer de l’Hospital 104, 08001 Barcelona.

Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

Chaka Khan restaurant, Barcelona. Photo © Barcelona Food Experience.

This post has been made in collaboration with Chaka Khan restaurant, however the review fully represents the views of Barcelona Food Experience.