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A New Desi-Chinese Restaurant Will Open in Soho in the New Year

Eater logo Eater 12/21/2018 Adam Coghlan
a bowl of food on a plate: Hakka noodles Hakka noodles

The group behind Bombay Chow, Station 31, and Imperial Lounge will launch its fourth restaurant in March

The team behind Indian restaurants Bombay Chow, Station 31, and Imperial Lounge will launch a fourth restaurant — with a new “concept” — in Soho in the new year. The unnamed restaurant will focus solely on Indo-Chinese cuisine, or Desi-Chinese, as it commonly called.

It will replace the Middle Eastern restaurant Tabun Kitchen at 77 Berwick Street in Soho, and is expected to open in March 2019, following “a comprehensive refurbishment.”

Desi-Chinese cuisine is thought to have been developed more than 100 years ago by the Chinese community in Kolkata. The cuisine, contrary to some reports earlier this year, has been in London for some time, too.

In Eater London’s Desi-Chinese guide, Jonathan Nunn wrote:

Desi-Chinese food (also known as Indo-Chinese or Hakka-Chinese) lies at a knotty intersection of authenticity, unique among Chinese diaspora cuisines. Not as canon as laksa or ramen, nor as derided as the neon gloop of the British and American Chinese takeaways, this 100-year-old assimilation food challenges the “authentic.” Desi-Chinese is the style of food invented by Hakka immigrants in Kolkata, who incorporated the ingredients and aggressive spicing of Indian food into their own cooking to create something both familiar and new.

Dishes at the new Soho restaurant promise to “introduce a contemporary twist to popular home-style classics” — like chilli paneer, chicken lollipops and vegetable Manchurian, and will too “combine familiar spicing profiles with game meats like venison and rabbit.”

Hamza Sajawal, a director at the restaurant company, said in a statement: “Our concept has been in the pipeline for years but now we are confident there is clear appetite for this style food in the West End.

“While Indian Chinese cuisine has been enjoyed by the international Indian community for years, this is the first restaurant with a central London location that we believe will devote entire menu to it.

“Other restaurants are testing dishes on their menus so the demand and gap in the market is clear. But the location is crucial as Soho is a global name that everybody knows; tourists from Asia and those familiar with the food will finally know where to go to enjoy it.”

Tom Crosthwaite, at CDG Leisure, the company which brokered the deal on behalf of the landlord, said: “The team behind this new concept are veterans in the leisure industry and we have no doubt this new restaurant will be a brilliant addition to Soho’s premium casual market. In an area rich with food options, offering dishes that will be new to many people and old favourites for others will be a popular move.”

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