Despite this being the third Hankies restaurant in London, it’s my first time trying the delicious tapas-style Indian Street food on offer and like most things, the wait was well worth it.
Hankies Haymarket, like all the other Hankies restaurants in London (Shaftesbury Avenue and Marble Arch), brings authentic and delicious Delhi street food to Londoners and it’s safe to say, renowned chef, Anirudh Arora has the Hankies success formula down at this point.
The new Hankies is a 250 seat venue with glittering chandeliers and a large dedicated bar but in spite of its size, the restaurant still manages to give an intimate dining experience, thanks to the divided sections and low key lighting. There is also a spectacular private dining room, capable of seating up to 55 guests, complete with its own bar.
My dining companion for the evening was a friend who loves her Indian food and has consumed a fair bit on her travels as a Lifestyle editor at the Daily Express. She’s not shy about voicing her opinions so I was interested in her thoughts on the menu.
Having scurried from opposite sides of London after a busy work day to get to our reservation on time, we started our dining experience with what we both viewed as well deserved drinks.
I’m not a regular cocktail drinker but I felt obliged to at least try one of the expertly mixed cocktails on the menu before turning my attention to the food.
I went for the beautiful to look at, if not exactly bursting with flavour Gotala – a mixture of Penderyn Whiskey, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinnamon Syrup, Lime and Egg white; while my companion went with the Sauvignon Blanc Verdejo Dominio de Fontana – a Spanish white she thought was delightful and stuck with for the entire our meal.
Whilst enjoying our drinks, the restaurant’s attentive manager popped by to ensure we were settled in. And like all the waiters and waitresses that came after him, he was attentive, knowledgeable – gave us background on our chosen dishes and very friendly.
I later switched to a Malbec, El Camino from the Mendoza region in Argentina, which was more to my liking and complemented the meat dishes superbly.
As an Indian food novice, I appreciated the simple and explanatory nature of the menu which made it easy to understand and choose dishes.
Also, being tapas style, I liked the given opportunity to try as many dishes on the menu as possible and indulge, especially since the majority are priced between £3.00 and £6.00.
It was a deliciously satisfying meal made up of very tasty dishes with delightfully balanced flavours. We found the signature Folded Hankies, in particular, to be very moreish and found ourselves asking for seconds.
After putting all that food away, pudding felt like a step too far for me but my companion opted for a Chocolate and Apple Samosa while I sipped on soothing fresh mint tea to end the evening.
Stars of the night
The entire meal was filled with many tasty dishes but we both agreed the Paneer ‘Salan’ – Pumpkin Curry and the signature Folded Hankies – filled with Pulled Lamb Spare Ribs and served with Garlic ‘N’ Gur Chutney were the star dishes on the menu.
At the beginning of the meal, I felt apprehensive that we may be ordering more than we could eat but it turns out although tapas may look like a lot when ordering on a menu, 6 or 7 dishes is the minimum if you want to feel satisfied at the end of the meal.
The service was quick and flawless which sometimes meant we were still in the middle of a dish when the next batch arrived.
I don’t eat much Indian food but I found the entire dining experience to be fantastic. The dishes were tasty and had lots of flavour but they were light flavours and didn’t overpower each other. And despite the luxurious surroundings, the prices won’t break the bank.
Address: Hankies Haymarket, 4 Suffolk Place, London SW1Y 4HX
Small plates are priced between £3.00 and £6.00. Prosecco is priced at £4.00 a glass and cocktails from £7.50 each.
Hankies Haymarket will also offer two and three course pre-theatre menus for £12.50 and £15.50 per head respectively