This Biryani Supper Club Is Worth a Trip to London
Asma Khan, who was the first British chef on Chef's Table, will cook her biryani in a traditional degh pot.
The chef behind one of London's most popular restaurants is tapping into her supper-club roots. Asma Khan, who had no formal culinary training when she opened her hit Soho spot Darjeeling Express, has announced that the newest installment of her biryani supper club will begin on April 18 and feature a set family-style menu.
The dinner is the latest in her super-popular series—with more potentially to come—and begins with three starters inspired by Bengal, where Khan grew up, including "Calcutta kati rolls" and "Darjeeling momos." As for the main attraction, the lamb biryani will be cooked traditionally—"in a big pot or 'degh' and we open the Biryani Degh right in front of you," the event description reads, noting that the dish will be served in the "traditional dawaat style in large sharing platters where everyone will be served at the same time." The meal ends with masala chai and shahi tukra, a saffron-soaked bread garnished with nuts.
Khan, who was born in Bengal, fell in love with cooking while living in Cambridge, where she began inviting her husband's students over for dinner. In 2012, after moving to London and finishing her PhD in British constitutional law, she started a hit supper club out of her South Kensington flat, which eventually inspired her to open a proper restaurant.
"It’s an immigrant story," Khan told Food & Wine in 2018. "Many immigrants find that the only thing they can hold onto is their food. I really needed that thing to anchor me in the country that I knew.”
The chef was featured on the sixth season of the Netflix series Chef's Table, making her the first British chef on the show. In 2019, she spoke to Condé Nast Traveller about the significance of biryani. "If Theresa May came to my restaurant, I would have liked to feed her biryani from our Biryani Supper Club," she said. "Biryani is in India because of the influence of the Arab trade and the Persians. I would like her to eat a dish which reflects the contribution others have made to a country and cuisine. It would be a great meal for her to eat, to understand that we can all come together to do something beautiful, and that everybody has something to contribute to this country."
Below, find the menu for the April 18 supper club. Tickets can be purchased for £65 ($85) here.
Dahi Puchkas (street food with tamarind chutney and spices yogurt)
Calcutta Chicken Kati Roll (a paratha wrap with a layer of egg stuffed with chicken kabab and onion)
Darjeeling Momos (served with red chilli and sesame chutney - these steamed chicken Momos are a speciality dish made in the homes of the kitchen team with Nepali heritage)
Lamb Dum Biryani
Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Saalan (chilli and onion gravy)
Bengali Tomato (with apricot and prune chutney)
Shahi Tukra (bread fried in ghee which is infused in saffron milk garnished with nuts)