Named after the classic roomali roti folded into convenient “hankies”, this Marylebone restaurant offers Indian street food with a twist. Whether you’re planning a date or a get-together with friends, their tapas-sized plates are perfect for sharing.
With the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street and Marble Arch just around the corner, I was happy to escape into the quiet of the Montcalm Hotel – the home of Hankies. My friend was already waiting for me and we settled into the far corner of the restaurant. Sitting on the couch, I was able to admire the beautiful lamps that are dotted around the room with a stunning centrepiece right in the middle. The comforting hues of orange and blue provide a calm atmosphere and the low music allows for easy conversation.
The menu offers small bites and veggies as well as dishes from the grill, pan or pot. All of them in manageable sizes – perfect for sharing and trying something new. I love discovering unique dishes, flavours and textures and Hankies’ small plates meant we could have at least one dish from every section of the menu. We started off with a variety of small bites, including the Bhindi Bhel pictured above, and the Tomato Roomali. After all, how could we go to Hankies and not try the namesake dish?!
My favourite starter was the Mantu. Not only is this the first time I’ve seen dumplings on the menu of an Indian restaurant (Did you notice the name being similar to the Korean mandu?), it was also an explosion of flavours. Filled with chicken and spring onion, covered in chilli oil, tamarind and yoghurt sauce and dressed with lentil salsa. A combination of sweet and salty and spicy with the crunch of fried lentils and lentil sprouts – unusual and enticing.
For our mains, we ordered the ribeye, prawns, soft shell crab and butter chicken with a side of garlic naan and spinach with braised potato. While the soft shell crab looked great, the ribeye tasted spectacular – perfectly seared with Indian spices and served with avocado chutney and fresh tomatoes. Another unusual combination that works extremely well.
Feeling pretty full at this stage, we were unsure there would be room for desserts, but those who know me, know that I cannot pass up a chocolate dessert. We ordered the Masala Chocolate Fondant and were told that the Gulukhand Kheer, a rice pudding, was a firm favourite of the Indian guests and something not to be missed. And what a treat it was! Without a doubt, the best rice pudding I’ve ever tasted – the delicate flavour and texture of rice and rose petals, a mild sweetness and a little crunch from the pistachio. Don’t leave Hankies without trying it!
For more information or to book a table, simply visit hankies.restaurant