Three of London’s top female chefs will be opening venues next month, from Asma Khan’s new look Darjeeling Express to Anna Tobias’ debut solo venture.
The brilliant Asma Khan is bringing her popular Darjeeling Express concept to Covent Garden, having recently closed her Carnaby Street original due to the need for a larger venue. The new site, a former Carluccio’s, boasts a deli and seating for 120. Led by her all-female brigade of chefs, the main restaurant on Garrick Street will offer a set menu, while the deli will serve a trio of lunchtime specials, including prawn Malaikari and rice, and Roti and sabzi, egg curry.
From Wednesday to Saturday the venue will offer a tasting menu at dinnertime, with a selection of three tasting menus to choose from. The meat-focused menu features lamb biryani, the Calcutta to Darjeeling menu features dishes from Khan’s childhood, including a beetroot chop served with Bengali spiced croquettes. The vegan menu meanwhile includes an alu bukhara biryani.
The Silver Birch
Being a Chiswick dweller, I’m particularly excited about the opening of The Silver Birch, not least because I’ve been lucky enough to try chef Kimberley Hernandez’s explosive cooking before – at the veggie-focused Rutabaga in Stockholm. She has impressive culinary pedigree, having clocked up stints at Dinner by Heston and St. John, and latterly Xu and Kym’s, where she was head chef.
This new neighbourhood gem on Chiswick High Road in leafy W4 founded by Leith’s-trained Tim Price will shine a light on seasonal British cuisine. Among the dishes on the debut menu will be blooming onion with tarragon, lemon and potato cabbage gratin; truffled chicken and dumplings; retired dairy cow beef with anchovies; and a bonkers sounding fried tarte tatin with cheddar. Look out for ethereal illustrations by artists Jessie Brown adorning the walls.
Bao is back with an irreverent new concept for 2020 – an all-day dining spot in King’s Cross. Inspired by Yōshoku cuisine; an interpretation of western food seen through an Asian lens, Café Bao boats its own bakery and will serve a plethora of breakfast treats in addition to what it does best – pillowy, pork and peanut-stuffed steamed buns.
Among the delights on the all-day menu are a hamburger bao; lobster bao; pizza bao; a decadent sounding fried chicken with XO butter Kiev; and bao profiteroles with Horlicks ice cream for those seeking the ultimate in bedtime comforts. The café is offering a ‘have it your way’ bespoke bao service, allowing you to pimp your buns. Among the baked goods to go are salted caramel cookies and a chocolate and salted egg ‘muffin’ bao.
Chef to watch Anna Tobias of 40 Maltby Street is setting up shot in Bloomsbury, where she’ll be opening Café Deco next month. Having learnt her craft at The River Café and Rochelle Canteen, Tobias is branching out with her first solo venture, which is being backed by the founders of 40 Maltby Street.
Located on Store Street, the café will serve an ever-evolving menu of comforting classics, from piping-hot pies to soups and stews in the winter months. Among the dishes on her debut menu are a kale, lentil and rice stew; and braised lamb shank with orzo and green beans, served with minimum intervention wines.