The Lotus Flower Café

The Lotus Flower Café

A £1 voluntary charity donation will now be added to each bill

In the lead up to Nawroz (Kurdish New Year) Darjeeling Express is supporting The Lotus Flower charity to establish social enterprise cafés at existing centres in northern Iraq for female survivors of the ISIS atrocities of 2014. 

The cafés will provide women and girls with a safe space to meet, talk openly and rebuild their communities. And most importantly, they will also serve high-quality, healthy food.

With initial support by Lotus Flower, the cafés will be managed and operated by the women themselves, retaining any profits while furthering their cooking skills and gaining vital business knowledge.

Our involvement has been warmly welcomed by founder, Taban Shoresh. ‘We are thrilled to be working with Asma on the next stage of the Lotus Flower journey. A real institution in the food world and an inspiring figure to thousands, Asma is the ideal partner for our pioneering café project.’

Asma has recently spoken of her desire to work more closely with women, ‘My tribe is now women. If I had an army it would be powerful women alongside me. We are all linked, you realise you are not alone. It is empowering. We need to link up, and food is a great way to do that. Food is the chains that bind us.’

Please help support us to get this much-needed project started. The target for this year is to raise £30,000 and you can also make additional gift-aided donations online at MyDonate.

https://mydonate.bt.com/events/thelotusflowercafe/481926

www.thelotusflower.org

The Lotus Flower is a restricted fund under the auspices of Prism the Gift Fund, registered charity number 1099682

A Bit of Butter

A Bit of Butter

I recognised that look in her eyes so well: the pain of saying farewell to the motherland as you leave your soil or “mitti”. It has been 27 years since I left India and moved to live in England. I still feel that ache whenever I leave-

Chef Asma Khan opens Calcutta Canteen

Chef Asma Khan opens Calcutta Canteen

Chef Asma Khan, of Darjeeling Express, pays homage to the city of her birth, Kolkata, formerly Calcutta. The canteen culture of Calcutta is special. Its where an entire afternoon could be spent in "Adda"- a Bengali word which has no equivalent English word essentially an extended conversation session with friends - usually over cups of tea and the occasional snack!

Market Halls, Fulham Broadway is a bright and airy space with 10 kitchens and a bar. The space has been refurbished after being abandoned, now brought back to life. Opening May 8, enjoy the same street food enjoyed in Calcutta in London at Calcutta Canteen by Darjeeling Express!

Female Entrepreneurs Join Forces over Food

Female Entrepreneurs Join Forces over Food

We teamed up with Hub Dot earlier this week to host a room full of aspiring and established entrepreneurs looking to share their personal journeys and forge new connections.

Hub Dot is a female collective who support, connect, and empower people to break out of the old-fashioned networking mould through their unique approach to events.

Diners heard from a range of speakers who were at various stages of their business ventures. They shared honest and practical tips for securing investment, gained honest feedback from a willing audience and learned about the emotional hardships faced by some when struggling to get their ideas noticed.

Over mouth-watering dishes, guests left their egos at the door and exuded positivity and warmth to help themselves and others reach their potential.

Darjeeling Express wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the guidance, support, and backing, we received and continue to receive from other women so here’s to lifting up and supporting other women like me on their entrepreneurial journeys.

 

Pictured: Hub Dot founder and CEO Simona Barbieri and Owner Asma Khan

Meat-Free Monday

Meat-Free Monday

We know how hard it is to keep your New Year resolutions past January, especially with temptation all around. However, in honour of being more environmentally conscious and promoting healthy living, Darjeeling Express is introducing Meat-Free Mondays, starting February 2018. Please see our Monday menu below and book your table, by phone 020 7287 2828 or by email, info@darjeeling-express.com.

Meat-Free Monday Menu

BREADS

Aloo Parantha (vegan)
Parantha stuffed with spiced potatoes (2 pieces)
£7

Dal Puri (vegan)
Bengali lentil stuffed puris (4 pieces) 
£6

MAINS

Bengali Niramish (vegan)
Pumpkin, aubergine, beans, and carrot cooked with panchporan
£11

Mattar Paneer (vegetarian)
Indian cheese, cooked peas in a thick tomato gravy
£11

Kala Channa (vegan)
Black chickpeas cooked with ginger and dried red chilies
£11

Khichidi Classic (vegan)
Comfort rice and dal mix, similar to rice porridge in texture
£7

SIDES

Kachumbar Salad (vegan)
Cucumber, tomatoes, chillies, red onions and pomegranate with lemon juice
£4

Beetroot Raita (vegetarian)
Spiced yogurt with raw grated British beetroot
£4

Bengali Aloo Dum (vegan)
Spicy potatoes
£6

Papad (vegan)
Served with Bengali tomato chutney
£4

Darjeeling Express's Second Daughters featured in BBC

Darjeeling Express's Second Daughters featured in BBC

Video: "In India it's hard to be a woman. Up to 12 million girls have been aborted in the last three decades in India.

But being a second daughter can be even harder. Families with daughters are expected to pay dowries when their children get married to the groom's family, which is often seen as a financial burden.

Restaurateur Asma Khan wanted to give back - so she opened a restaurant five years ago which is home to a team of women who have never cooked professionally - but all have something in common: they are second daughters."

See full feature on BBC.

Labour of Love: Gajjar ka Halva

Labour of Love: Gajjar ka Halva

Eid al-Adha begins on the 10th day of the Dhu al-Hijjah month in the Islamic calendar.  The Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca begins two days before Eid al-Adha. This festival is called Bakrid in South Asia. We are celebrating this special festival by bringing back to our menu our Gajjar ka Halwa --a slow cooked dessert with carrots; labour of love is the phrase that describes this dish best!

Tatler Magazine - Best Restaurants in Soho

Tatler Magazine - Best Restaurants in Soho

Tatler Magazine features Darjeeling Express: "The best restaurants in Soho aren't always the obvious ones. From family-owned mini-chains to hidden gems that you won't spot unless you know where to look, we've tried and tested the 34 best in the area..."

Borders: Imaginary Lines

Borders: Imaginary Lines

This restaurant, therefore, and the food and art within its walls are symbolic of the fact that borders are imaginary. If you look closely, you'll see delicate terracotta pottery marked with the insignias of Darjeeling Express (and Indian Asma Khan)  and award winning Pakistani potter, Maham Anjum, representing the idyllic coming together of India and Pakistan. 

A Family Affair

A Family Affair

... Opening Darjeeling Express was a huge leap, but Asma has thrived and it's because, she says, "You don't realize how much you learn by observation and how to deal with challenges." Growing up Asma' watched her mother deftly orchestrate weddings and other huge-scale events. Crisis management was just an ordinary task in her mother's hospitality business. And Asma unknowingly picked up the ethos of how to manage a business and make it your family...

Time-travel to Vintage Bollywood

Time-travel to Vintage Bollywood

...the music that fills the air of Darjeeling Express. Just as the cuisine of Darjeeling Express is from that era, tuning into this specialized playlist will take you back to the era of classic Bollywood music and into the daydreams of young, chef Asma...  

This isn't about Nostalgia

This isn't about Nostalgia

...these collection of photographs are a reminder of the history of Asma’s home cuisine. At Darjeeling Express, she honours, preserves and protects the recipes that have passed through generations so that people of all times and of all places can savour some of it.

All aboard Darjeeling Express

All aboard Darjeeling Express

So come. Put down some roots, even if just for a little while, and spend some time in a home away from home. Let us impress you with simple food and quite simply, our love