I won’t apologise for waxing lyrical here. Asma Khan has been cooking some of my favourite food in London for some time now, and her gem of a restaurant Darjeeling Express finally has a permanent home in Kingly Court in Soho.
Opening night at Darjeeling Express in Soho! Asma on her food, and the food we ate on the evening (it was impromptu so forgive the sound quality, I will do this again with my microphone).
As with her many pop ups before this, at Darjeeling Express Asma and her terrific all woman team of cooks are cooking authentic food from her Bengali childhood as well as the food of her father’s region Uttar Pradesh, and the food of her Royal Mughlai ancestry. The result is an exciting menu where the food of royal kitchens meets the street food of Calcutta.
Asma at one of her supper clubs (at The London Foodie) opening her famous Caluctta dum biryani. The aroma as she lifts the lid is divine. So good.
As with most natural home cooks, Asma cooks with all her senses as opposed to written recipes, and it all comes from the heart. Asma learned her recipes from her family cooks and they are steeped in heritage. I went to the launch with high expectations, all of which were met with a smile and a flourish. New this time was the wine list, ably sourced by Florian Siepert, all picked because of their character and their ability to stand up to and sing with the spice.
You can’t go wrong with Asma’s menu, my favourites are the beetroot chop, mutton shikampuri kabab, puchkas, lamb samosa, methi chicken and of course, Calcutta dum biryani on occasional Sundays (where they will be celebrating their supper club roots with themed meals like biryani and Indo-Chinese lunches).
Darjeeling Express opened on the 27th of June. For a little slice of sunshine and happiness, take yourself there as soon as you can manage it. You can book online at https://www.darjeeling-express.com and there will be a limited number of tables reserved for walk ins.
My first review of Asma’s pop up at The Sun & 13 Cantons
Darjeeling Express, Top Floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby, London W1B 5PW
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