Sitting proudly in the plush Montcalm London Marble Arch, the name Hankies comes from the classic roomali roti – Delhi-style flatbread hand-spun until it is model thin and then folded into ‘hankies’. As well as hankies, this is a place to come where inventive Indian tapas meets traditional Delhi street food.
Interiors are stylish with pretty objects, glassware and china sourced from Indian markets and antique stores by chef and Hankies founder Anirudh Aroraand. Tables are also super comfortable, great for a lingering dinner. As much as I like the 20 page menus at restaurants on Brick Lane, the Hankies menu is succinct on one page and moreover sounds very tempting. The most expensive dish on the menu is £12 so you can order and indulge.
We started in the Nirvana Bar, a stunning backdrop a decadent blend of black and gold. They have one of London’s best selections of single malts and blended whiskeys and some Indian snacks. I asked for a cocktail we tried recently at Salon 64, a twist on a Negroni using smoked whisky which the team whipped up well.
There are some dishes that just stand out on the menu and this one stood out a mile and will linger in the memory. Called Mantu, this is an Indian ravioli type dumpling filled with chicken and spring onion, with chilli oil, yoghurt and a lentil salsa. A combination of earthy, salty, sweet, spicy, crunchy and downright brilliant. This is the kind of dish you would find me craving on a random night of the week, ordering three plates of sitting in the corner of the bar devouring. Genius.
Seasonal is still a buzzword and even in Indian cooking, there are some gorgeous seasonal dishes at Hankies. While you sip on a Smokey Mexican (Mescal, lime, agave syrup, smoked salt rim and orange aromatics) order a truffle naan bread topped with vintage cheddar, cumin and truffle shavings.
From the bigger dishes, there are some well thought out plates like a lamb chop marinated in chilli and cumin. Be sure to order a Hankies but don’t leave it sitting on the table for 10 minutes because you’re too busy in deep discussion as they do need to be eaten hot. For mains, we stayed mainstream with a butter chicken which was cooked Delhi style with a buttery tomato sauce.
Hankies now also has a third home on Westbournce Terrace where Chef Ani will be working alongside his friend, chef Gareth Drew (Nobu, Gilgamesh), so there will also be an array of Pan Asian delights such as beef rending and Thai green curry on top of the Indian delights. You must also try their Fruits de Mer popcorn with snow crab and prawns.
To discover more, visit: hankies.london
All imagery courtesy of Hankies
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