Darjeeling Express | Carnaby Restaurant
Last Updated: 14th November 2019 | Images: Ming Tang-Evans
The Darjeeling Express.
It’s how the tea leaves.
And it’s also a restaurant on the very top deck of Soho’s Kingly Court, opened by self-taught chef Asma Khan who has been honing her skills for the past half decade at her Darjeeling Express supper club – garnering some strikingly good reviews all the while. Since opening her very first bricks-and-mortar spot, she went on to appear on Netflix’s Chef’s Table, which has only served to ramp up London’s appetite for her home-style cooking. Head there now, and you’ll often find queues along Kingly Court’s balcony to get in – and with good reason.
The place itself is bright & airy, with a high vaulted ceiling, eccentric foliage, and large windows spilling light onto the beige & blue pastel walls and the worn wooden floor. At one end you’ll find the open kitchen, which is proudly run by Khan’s “all-women team of housewives”, who put together a menu (which changes every 8 weeks) of home-style classic regional Indian dishes.
The small stuff ranges from Nepali-style spinach pakoras made with mustard greens grown by retired Gurkha army personnel in Woolwich Arsenal; to Tangra Chilli Garlic Prawns, whose Indo-Chinese spices reflect the fact that Kolkata (where they originate) is the only Indian city with a Chinatown.
Larger dishes include Goat Kosha Mangsho (a slow-cooked Bengali curry “with the occasional potato”); Venison Koftas cooked with shikar masala (hunting spices); and Kali Mirch Saag Keema – spinach with minced beef and dry chillies. And every Monday, the whole restaurant goes meat-free, too.
Taking cues from the kitchen, they’ve got originals like their Curry Leaf Martini (with vodka & a curry leaf infusion), a rum & mango-laden Calcutta Cup, and for their twist on an Old Fashioned they’ve added Darjeeling syrup. It seems when deciding how to add Indian flavours to classic cocktails…
…they’ve got it down to a tea.
NOTE: Darjeeling Express is open Mon-Sat, 12-3 and 6-10pm. Walk-ins are taken at the start of lunch and dinner service, but booking ahead is highly recommended – which you can do HERE.
Darjeeling Express | 2nd Floor, 6-8 Kingly St, W1B 5PW
Want to check out what’s underneath Kingly Court, too? Then head all the way down to Cahoots.