Following the well-earned success of the restaurant’s Marble Arch opening last September, Coupette founder Jeet Mitra has expanded BKC to the realms of Soho, for a second ‘cool younger sister’ outpost that combines the much-loved authenticity of the original menu with a chic fresh interior and tantalising new additions to the dishes to form a real must-visit in the heart of London.
BKC, or Biryani Kebab Chai, is not like the others. Innovation is not at the heart of the restaurant – the focus is on firm alignment to classic, tried-and-tested, and adored recipes, along with staunch dedication to maximising the flavours of the dishes with top quality ingredients and methods. You won’t find canned tomatoes or re-heatable rice in the kitchen – it’s all about showcasing traditional ingredients, utilising long-used techniques, and preparing as freshly as possible, which places BKC in its own league in a way that has not yet been seen in London.
Channelling the three classic pillars of Indian cuisine and culture to London, the restaurant’s menu hinges on traditional Awadhi Biryanis, North Indian Kebabs, and classic Chai – as its name suggests.
The Awadhi Chicken Biryani is a real menu favourite, serving up juicy chicken with spices, saffron, and basmati rice in a more than generous portion, while the Lucknowi Lamb Biryani incorporates an unexpected but effective splash of rose water for a fragrant and filling finish along with the tender meat. The Kebab Platter offers a 6 piece assortment of Barrah, Seekh, Bhatti, and Malai Tikka, perfect for a taste of the fantastic full variety.
BKC also takes inspiration from other regions of India to create dishes such as those featured on the new menu. It merges the much-loved BKC classics with a carefully curated selection of tantalising options including Bhatti Ka Khargosh (Chargrilled rabbit legs infused with allspice and yoghurt), Tandoori Lobster (Chargrilled lobster infused with lime & pepper served with corn on the cob and raw mango chutney), and Kathal Ki Shami (Pan-seared jackfruit and walnut patties served with coriander chutney).
Of course, no Indian meal is complete without a burst of sweetness to finish with, and along with its aromatic chai options, BKC does this outstandingly. The traditional Malai Kulfi is a classic favourite, and its Phirni (rice simmered in milk with cardamom and saffron) is rich and packed with traditional flavours. But it’s the Gulab Jamun that is a must-order, serving up sweet dumplings soaked in rose-flavoured sugar syrup and topped with pistachios for the perfect texture as a finishing touch.
The restaurant itself is adorned with nods to the restaurant’s heritage. Mirrored walls are intertwined with creative art and bright colours, with plush red seating and marble tables creating a chic lounge-like comfort in the intimate space.
Hanging from the ceiling are clay pots identical to the ones the food is cooked in, another culturally significant characteristic of the restaurant that forms an eager talking point between staff and enthralled diners. Not just for adornment, the pots are a noteworthy part of the restaurant’s sustainability story. Each takeaway is served in its clay pot cooking vessel, reusable also as a pot to grow plants and continue its cycle – a unique touch for BKC.
Food outlets in Soho are far from lacking, and there must be an element of spectacular to truly stand out. Fortunately, BKC has many elements that qualify as that – from mouthwatering, melt-in-the-mouth meats and curries bursting with authentic flavours and spices, to delicate warming chai that’s ideal for the upcoming winter season, it all folds into a story of success. It remains true to traditional recipes without rewriting the rulebook of Indian cuisine, and all for terrifically affordable prices. For that, this is a firm London must-visit.
The new Biryani Kebab Chai can be found at 8 Moor St, Greater, London W1D 5ND. It is open from 12:00 to 22:30 Monday to Thursday, 12:00 to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 12:00 to 10:00 on Sunday, or you can order online here.
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