*Darjeeling Express at Kingly Court has closed down but they have reopened at Covent Garden in 2020*
There is no lack of Indian restaurants across London but there is this one restaurant that’s been catching the public’s attention. Despite being newly launched for about 2 months now, Darjeeling Express has been winning people’s attention with their quality Indian food and by featuring an all-female kitchen.
It all started by running supper clubs across the city to showcase her cooking. After four years of doing so, Asma Khan has finally found herself a permanent site at Kingly Court in Carnaby. The ground level restaurants at Kingly Court might be crowded but it’s much more chilled out at the top floor. With large windows and a bright setting, you sure can expect the meal to be a very comfortable one.
The menu features North Indian Bengali cuisine. It is pretty simple and saves you lots of indecisive moments. They also regularly update and change their menu every 8 weeks or so to reflect the seasonality of ingredients.
Here is what we ordered:
Tangra Chilli Garlic Prawns (£8)
Apparently ‘Tangra’ means Chinatown in Bengali, and Calcutta is the only city in India with a Chinatown. With that being said, these prawns highlight an Indo-Chinese flavour that’s unique of the region. It was fragrant and spicy, and teasing your palate at all the right spots. No wonder my friend who’s been to this place before kept recommending me to try this when I get to visit Darjeeling Express.
Though I initially expected whole shelled prawns, I was not at all disappointed with these peeled prawns. They were absolutely cooked to perfection with that juicy and al dente texture to bite into. I hope this stays on the menu because it was an absolutely stunning one.
Papri Chaat (£6)
The Papri Chaat features spiced potatoes and black chickpeas over a bed of crisp papri, dressed with tamarind chutney, finished with sev and coriander.
This popular North Indian street food dish was such a delightful starter of the evening. In contrast to the spicy prawns, this one was much milder to the palate, still flavourful nonetheless. It was really tangy with a nice sweet & sour touch. We also absolutely loved the texture of it. From the crispy sev to the soft mushy spiced potatoes and black chickpeas, to more crispiness from the papri – all those well-layered textures makes it very enjoyable one to savour.
Goat Kosha Mangsho (£16)
This dish is a slow-cooked Bengali goat curry with the occasional potato (there’s one in ours). There is a good kick of spice in this dish and is certainly our most favourite main dish. The goat was really tender and has soaked up all that delicious and punchy flavours. It’s a dance of flavours on the palate, punchy but sophisticated.
All the main dishes at Darjeeling Express come with a portion of pilau rice. We thought it was only one portion of rice per main dish ordered but they gave us each a portion of rice instead (there was three of us). So you definitely can get your belly satisfied without going extra.
Venison Kofta (£14)
These venison meatballs were cooked with shikar masala (hunting spices) and served in a creamy tomato and green chilli gravy. It’s milder in flavour and not as spicy as the Goat Curry. It also has a more creamy texture which goes incredibly well with rice. The meatballs are reasonably tender, though I personally would like a sharper punch of spice. It’s certainly a rich and satisfying one.
Bhapa Doi (£5)
For dessert, we each ordered Bhapa Doi, which is a classic steamed yoghurt dessert. These ones from Darjeeling are lined with a subtle rosy fragrance. Super creamy and velvety in texture, this was certainly one heavenly dessert. It was delightfully light with a delectable sweetness in it. It was the perfect finishing touch to the meal – very simple and comforting yet so elegant and effective. I much prefer this over any other puddings!
Darjeeling Express is definitely one to watch out for. It’s all-rounded quality comfort food with a delicate touch of sophistication. It’s tremendously inspiring to see how a self-taught cook has come to such a huge achievement from running supper clubs to being one of the hottest dining spots within a mere few months of launching. Definitely go check out this place and treat yourself to an authentic Indian comfort food feast.
All meats are halal at Darjeeling Express.
Nearest station: Oxford Circus