What: Hankies is a culture clash of Indian street food meets high-end luxury; the street food is created by chef and Hankies founder Anirudh Arora while the luxury is provided by the surroundings of Montcalm Hotel in Marble Arch.
New? Hankies, who gets its name from the roomali roti they serve folded into ‘hankies’, is brand new after opening in January 2018.
Where? 61 Upper Berkeley Street, Marylebone W1H 7PP www.hankies.restaurant
On the menu: This is not your typical Indian restaurant, the only dishes I recognise at first glance are chicken tikka and dhal. The menu features dishes like crispy ‘gold’ cod with turmeric, amritsari spices and sour mango dip, stir fried masala crab meat and potatoes, baked in an egg custard, and khumb kofta made wild mushroom ‘kofta’ in a creamy cashew sauce with baby morels.
The Look: As an add on to the Montcalm Hotel, Hankies was always going to look smart. Orange, cream and brown don’t sound like the best combination, and admittedly the brown carpet wouldn’t be my first choice, but it all looks glamorous and well-combined. On a personal note I loved the blue glasses which reminded me of chalices, a step up from your normal, boring clear glass.
What We Ate: Obviously we had to try the namesake so went for original roti and the more exciting spinach roomali made with spiced feta, roasted tomato, homemade garlic herb oil, really random seeing feta on an Indian menu but it great so no complaints. I personally found the ‘pindi’ choley made with braised chickpeas, spices and mango powder quite hot but when it calmed down I really appreciated the intense flavour. Another odd cheese addition came with the charcoal-grilled sprouting broccoli served with cream cheese, thyme and chilli, not what you’d expect at an Indian restaurant but I finished every piece. More cheese to come, this time it’s the cheddar cheese on the truffle naan with cumin and shaved truffle; while paneer is a fabulous cheese it flies solo in Indian cooking and I’m really on board with this international cheese infusion.
What We Drank: There are a few tempting cocktails as well as house wines and beers (Cobra of course) but don’t leave without trying their lassi cocktail made with Greek yoghurt, sweetened and flavoured with either raspberries and pounded cumin or spiced mango with cardamom, the latter being the star.
Go With: Lovers of Indian food with an open mind.
Final Word: The menu had all the elements of an Indian restaurant but with an exciting, unpredictable aspect. The flavours were all in-keeping with what you would expect from India but hashed together in an interesting way, as a lover of Indian food it was enjoyable to try new dishes like when your favourite artist finally releases new music.
Hankies: 61 Upper Berkeley Street, Marylebone W1H 7PP www.hankies.restaurant