Asma Khan to relocate Darjeeling Express to Covent Garden

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Asma Khan to relocate Darjeeling Express restaurant to Covent Garden

Related tags: asma khan, Restaurant, Indian cuisine, National restaurant awards, Coronavirus

Asma Khan is to relocate her Darjeeling Express restaurant from London's Soho to Covent Garden, having taken over the former Carluccio's site on Garrick Street.

According to Bloomberg's Richard Vines, who first broke the news, the new Darjeeling Express will function as both a restaurant and deli, and is set to open in mid-October.

The deli will serve a daily menu based on 'childhood train journeys'; while the restaurant will operate for dinner between Wednesdays and Saturdays, offering a choice of three tasting menus.

As previously reported by BigHospitality​, Khan will also use the new site as an incubator to mentor and train future female restaurant owners, general managers and CEOs of food businesses.

Khan confirmed back in late June that she was planning to relocate Darjeeling Express from Soho, having closed the restaurant in March as a result of the Coronavirus.

She told BigHospitality​ the 'pause of lockdown' had given her an opportunity to rethink how she could make things easier for her team, adding that she wanted a site with a bigger kitchen and dining room in order to be able to train more women in all aspects or running a restaurant.

Darjeeling Express began life as a supper club for 12 guests before Khan opened it as a restaurant in Soho’s Kingly Court in 2017.

During its lifetime the small restaurant received plenty of critical acclaim (it is currently ranked number 93 on the Top 100 UK Restaurants List​), with a table often hard to come by because of its popularity.

Khan, who runs the Darjeeling Express kitchen with a full female brigade that she has trained, has been vocal in calling for more female chefs to enter the world of hospitality.

In 2017 she told BigHospitality​: "Professional kitchens need more women, especially Indian restaurants who are all complaining about visa restrictions and struggling to recruit male chefs from India and Pakistan.

"Look at the women who are already in this country that can cook, why aren’t they hiring them? I find it difficult to understand why these restaurants are closing down but won’t open their doors to their wives, aunts or mothers. I’m a living example, women can cook and we work just as hard."

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