I don’t think this place needs any further introduction after having been on the headlines on almost all foodie chats since Darjeeling Express announced the opening of its restaurant a few months ago.
I have known Asma Khan since I started my food blog just over a year ago. In that time, we have met several times over dinners with the girls out in town. Few times I have even had the pleasure to have been at some of their events as a guest. Strangely enough I even braved myself to help in her super club at the Cinnamon Club Kitchen and Sun & Canteen as FOH and at her charity market stall in Druid Street.
Today is all about the very first service at Darjeeling Express and to celebrate Eid in style with friends. Such a great venue, one cannot miss the attractive looking signage in front of the restaurant as you walk up the stairs from Kingly Court.
Such a buzzing place, bright and airy, open plan, casual feel throughout. I like the way the kitchen sits behind a counter, so seeing the team behind the scene now they are not behind the scene anymore.
It is quite theatrical to see chefs/cook in action, and here one can peep over the counter and even interact with kitchen staff. Calm and happy team always delivers good food. As seen above Asha, Sohini and other members of the kitchen staff, while Asma entertains and busy being the FOH, where she always makes time to talk to everyone and make sure there is enough food on the table.
Asma likes and enjoys feeding people, there is always so much food. As we say there it is like a Dawat or like my mum would always say when food is cooked with love it grows which in Hindi means “barakat” which means there will always be plenty to feed a crowd. What makes Asma’s food special is the fact it is homemade food, with the homely feel and tastes authentic. Usually served on big trays for all to share at the same table. It makes it more special as it gets complete strangers sitting together, chat and eat together.
I have known Asma feeding the homeless, when she had her pop up at the Sun Canteen in Soho, people called her the “spice lady” or sometimes would say “here comes the biryani lady”, because she would always leave food for some people who live on the street. A person with such a humble heart who has so much to give.
With a great team behind her, as Asma calls the sister’s team, are those wonderful ladies behind the scene. Some of whom I have got to know, the ever beautiful smiling person called Asha. Whenever I have met Asha, no matter how busy she is in the kitchen, she is always smiling. For me that says a lot about a person – kindness.
To know and be a friend with someone like Asma it such a privilege as it’s always fun. She is a person who has so much to give both in her positive spirit and her knowledge. I would say Asma is like a little bee that attracts people, wherever she is there is an Aura of Sweetness & Joy. I took this as a snapshot from Asma’s profile – so I cannot take credit for taking this photoshoot
Here is just a little highlight of last Sunday “Eid Celebration” at Darjeeling Express, Kingly Court, Carnaby Street. Whenever I write about my food experience, it has to be from the heart, something I believe in and food I enjoy. I is not just because its good taste but more so because it contains the ingredients of Love in it. A Biryani to celebrate Eid is indispensable and here at Darjeeling Express it was exceptional. When I eat homemade food I eat it the desi way…I feel no shame eating with my fingers in public, the pleasure of eating this way is enough to say I want a big mouthful, caught on camera.
I will only let you browse through the photos below with very few captions. Those of you who have tasted Asma, Asha and the Darjeeling team’s food would know why there are certain food that do not need a description.
No doubt serving great food on individually designed by the very talented Maham Anjum…http://www.mahamanjum.co.uk/ dishes has to be something special. So beautiful, rustic earthy looking bowl, flower vases adorning the dining tables, so pretty.
There was a bonus when we left with a goodie bag, I love surprise goodie bags – I cannot wait until I get home to looking into by bag. Hahhhha here is more treat, Nankathai by Tarunima http://www.mylittlecaketin.co.uk/, little bag of loose tea leaves, “Imli Timli” Tamarind chutney.