'I am going to move because the real stars of the show are the women in my kitchen': Asma Khan to move Darjeeling Express

The  Staff Canteen

Chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Asma Khan is seeking a new site for her restaurant, Darjeeling Express, to give her  kitchen team some limelight

Speaking on Saturday Kitchen this weekend, Asma Khan said that she is 'in the market' for a new site with an open kitchen in order to allow her all-female kitchen team to be more visible to the diners.

Asma Khan already moved the Darjeeling Express from its original Soho location to Covent Garden in 2020 after its popularity outgrew its capacity at the original space.

The Covent Garden location proved to be successful and very useful during Covid, despite lacking the open kitchen space that Asma wants - and had at her original site. 

She said: "[Covent Garden] was brilliant during the pandemic, and I haven’t said this publicly anywhere, I am going to move [the restaurant] because the real stars of the show are my women in the kitchen."

While the current location is a good size and works well, it has a basement kitchen typical of West End restaurants, which separates the kitchen from the diners.

Asma has for a long time run Darjeeling Express with a female-led kitchen and has been a fervent advocate for gender equality in restaurant culture. Because of this, it seems only natural that she would want a restaurant that fits with her ethos.

The Darjeeling Express began life as a supper club for just 12 guests, but this was so successful that the chef was inspired to open it as a fully-fledged restaurant in Soho’s Kingly Court in 2017. 

During its time in Kingly Court, it received much acclaim, with tables often being difficult to get ahold of because of the popularity. 

It was after the first lockdown in 2020 that Asma moved the restaurant to Covent Garden taking over Carluccio's former site on Garrick Street.

She said: "We are the only restaurant in the world with a female founder and all-female kitchen of housewives. I need to show them off because they are my pride and joy."

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 22nd March 2022

'I am going to move because the real stars of the show are the women in my kitchen': Asma Khan to move Darjeeling Express