Follow Mint Lounge

Latest Issue

Home > Food> Discover > Darjeeling Express hailed as one of London's most exciting restaurant openings

Darjeeling Express hailed as one of London's most exciting restaurant openings

From the return of Chef Asma Khan to new Sri Lankan and Palestinian restaurants, there are good things in store this year for people heading to London and around

Chef Asma Khan of Darjeeling Express
Chef Asma Khan of Darjeeling Express

Listen to this article

January. It’s the time to get excited about the many, many restaurant openings on the horizon. Despite challenges, from cost-of-living increases to myriad rail strikes, the UK hospitality industry is gearing up for a big 2023. After a year when enormous food halls and tiny wine bars battled it out for domination (wine bars won), there’s a wide range of dining spots coming to London and its surrounding areas in the next several months.

A spate of new luxury hotel openings, many delayed because of the covid-19 pandemic, is bringing with it newly arrived top chefs to the greater London area. Among the multi-starred chefs you might see in action: Pro-snowboarder turned chef Akira Back will launch a handful of dining and drinking spots at the Mandarin Oriental Mayfair; Mauro Colagreco, whose Mirazur was at the top of the World’s 50 Best restaurant list in 2019, is taking up residence at the luxurious OWO; and three-Michelin-starred French chef Yannick Alléno is opening at the Four Seasons Park Lane.

And then there’s the return of beloved restaurants that had closed to relocate: This year Asma’s Khan’s superior Indian restaurant Darjeeling Express will return to Kingly Court off Carnaby Street, while Adejoké Bakare will give London the gift of her West African cooking at Chishuru 2.0.

Also read: Raising the bar at luxury weddings

Outside London, Margot Henderson, co-founder of the seminal Rochelle Canteen, will set up shop in a restored 17th century inn in Somerset. Meanwhile, in Manchester, a slew of openings include a new spot set below the city’s upcoming Soho House and an updated comfort food restaurant in the Gary Neville-owned Stock Exchange Hotel.

And then there’s Portuguese croquettes in Battersea, tableside Knickerbocker Glory carts bearing ice cream and toppings in Mayfair, and glorious homemade pasta in Edinburgh. Get ready, there’s a lot to eat in 2023. 


Akub: Palestinian food will be front and center at Fadi Kattan’s three-story spot in Notting Hill. On the menu: updated dishes from the chef’s native country, including sea bream cured with the anise-flavored spirit Arak, spiced lamb dumplings with beet tahini and musakhan, the traditional roast chicken dish that Kattan wraps in taboun bread. On the drinks list: Natural wines, Palestinian beers and more Arak. Opening: January 16

Also read: Noma, one of the world’s best restaurants, is closing its doors

Darjeeling Express: Asma Khan has resurrected her beloved Indian spot at Kingly Court, the Carnaby Street enclave, where she opened her first restaurant in 2017. “It feels like a homecoming,” Khan says. The menu at her new site, twice the size of her first place, “celebrates our 10-year food journey from my supper clubs hosted around the dining table at my home to a 90-seater restaurant in the West End.” At dinner, the £65 Royal Thali menu will include kosha mangsho, or goat curry and beef tamatar gosht, cooked in spiced tomato and Bengali prawns in coconut milk.Opening: January 30

Rambutan: The already hectic Borough Market is about to get busier with this destination Sri Lankan restaurant from chef and cookbook author Cynthia Shanmugalingam. Located next to Monmouth Coffee, the two-story spot will feature decor from female Sri Lankan designers and curries ranging from green mango to cashew as well as hoppers, rotis and malu fish buns. Alongside natural wines, cocktails will highlight regional ingredients like lemongrass and Ceylon tea.Opening: February

Socca: Claude Bosi, chef-owner of the stained-glass framed Bibendum in the Michelin House, and restaurateur Samyukta Nair, are bringing the South of France to London with their upcoming corner bistro in Mayfair. The menu will highlight Mediterranean dishes like tarte de Menton (a close relative of pissaladiere), Dover sole with the tomato and olive oil dressing antiboise, and the chickpea pancakes that the restaurant is named for. There’s also a strong wines by the glass selection.Opening: February

Also read: Here's what 2023 will hold for diners

Joia: The iconic Battersea power station will soon be home to a restaurant from one of Portugal’s top chefs, Henrique Sá Pessoa. The 85-cover spot—its name translates as jewel — will sit on the top floors of the new Art’Otel Battersea, and focus on the culinary heritage of the Iberian peninsula. Sá Pessoa’s signature croquettes made from potato and Alheira sausage will be available, along with a selection of large plates including salted cod with shoestring potatoes, black olive and egg.Opening: February 

Akira Back London: In the soon-to-open Mandarin Oriental Mayfair, pro snowboarder-turned-chef Akira Back will helm his first UK restaurant, to complement locations in places like Singapore, Las Vegas, Paris and Bangkok. His Japanese-Korean-American menu will feature his signature scallop half shell: robata-grilled scallops in their roe served with kimchi butter sauce. Alongside his restaurant Back will operate Dosa, a counter for his fine dining menu, the Asian cocktail-focused ABar, and a rooftop space. Opening: Spring

Chishiru 2.0: Nigerian-born chef Adejoké Bakare’s smash hit Brixton restaurant is moving north this year. Bakare, who is rumored to be setting up her new location in the proximity of Covent Garden, will continue to serve dynamic West African cooking; she has said that the new space will be larger and that she will put even more focus on food cooked on the grill.Opening: to be decided

Also read: Planning a trip to Lisbon? Visit these secret underground restaurants


Stock Market Grill: At the Stock Exchange hotel, co-owned by football/soccer star Gary Neville, this handsome new space from bartending brothers Joe and Daniel Schofield will update British classics. Chef Joshua Cooper will offer high-level comfort food like whipped black pudding on toast, rib-eye tartare with smoked drippings, and steamed cod with caramelized mash.Opening: February


The Three Horseshoes: Margot Henderson will open her first pub in the countryside village of Batcombe this spring. Henderson’s produce-focused menu will feature dishes like chicken tarragon pie, ricotta gnudi with sage and butter, and custard tarts. The separate bar menu will highlight snacks like mince on toast. As a bonus, the restored 17th century property has rooms attached.Opening: Spring


Next Story