The star behind this small Indian restaurant in Kingly Court, London – Darjeeling Express, is Asma Khan who is known for hosting pop-up restaurants. Well, she is now here to stay and not just pop up! I pretty much devoured most of the menu (of course not alone!); all the dishes conjuring up nostalgia of being back home in Mumbai including getting served Limca.
This is a small restaurant with simple wooden tables and benches, bright lighting and an all-female open kitchen.
We ordered most of the items of the menu amongst which were the Tangra Chilli Garlic Prawns, ever so succulent and with just the right amount of chilli to give a little zing. Venison Kofta – little kebabs blended with shikhar masala in a creamy tomato and green chilli gravy, which was rich and comforting especially on a cold winter’s evening. Paapri Chaat – I, of course, had to indulge in that since it brought back fond memories of my childhood in Mumbai (spiced potato and black chickpeas on a bed of crisp puris garnished with sev and tamarind chutney). Degh Gosht – a slow cooked beef stew with smoked chillies served with rice, the tender beef chunks infused with flavour. Just delicious!
Goat Kosha Mangsho – slow cooked goat curry with rice. The meat literally melted in your mouth and was just sublime.
The benches need some padding and need to be a little wider to be comfortable whilst eating. The place itself was extremely busy with people lining up outside, so definitely make a reservation.
(Darjeeling Express, Top Floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, London; Tel: +44 20 7287 2828)
By Diane Bilimoria, London