Hankies at The Montcalm London Marble Arch – Restaurant Review
Hankies at The Montcalm London Marble Arch, London
by Jen Grimble
Nestled in the shadows of Oxford Street in the heart of London’s Marylebone, you will find the unassuming entrance to Hankies. Part of the Montcalm London Marble Arch, this upscale Indian street food restaurant is the antidote to humdrum hotel eateries.
The newly opened venue is the latest offering from renowned chef and founder, Anirudh Arora. Having worked in some of the best restaurants in the world, Arora’s mission was to bring traditional Indian flavours to the masses. With a menu of light, small plates the renowned chef delivers a rich tapestry of accessible, simple and affordable Indian classics in a luxury setting.
Pleasantly, the restaurant is separated from the hotel itself by a private entrance; steps lead you into a spacious, stylish dining room with high ceilings, low lighting and exquisite tableware. Clean white tables are enhanced by the beautiful gold detailing of the cutlery and napkin rings, and complemented by the rich blues of the glassware and china. Arora himself sourced each item from Indian markets and antique stores, ensuring unity of character throughout.
Once seated, begin your experience with a cocktail. From the refreshing Elderflower Spritz (£5.50) to the non-alcoholic Lassi, spiced with cardamom (£4.50), there is a beverage for every palette. Next, browse the clean and concise menu, full of tantalising dishes inspired by the food of Delhi. Order a selection of items from the Small Bites, Grill and Pots & Pans sections of the menu, sharing and mixing everything up in a relaxed, tapas-style manner.
Every diner should order the item that this restaurant is named after, the Roomali Roti (£1.75). This classic Indian roti (or hankies) is hand-spun until papery thin and accompanied by a spicy tomato dip for a simple yet mouth-watering opener. This happens to be one of the best items on the menu. Next, mix things up with the Bhatak Ki Khurchan (£5.50), boasting crispy duck, masala cashew nuts and watermelon, exceling in flavour and perfectly cooked.
At just £6.50, the Crispy ‘Gold’ Cod is a faultless option, covered in turmeric and amritsari spices and accompanied by a sour mango dip. For vegetarians, the Sweet Potato Bomb is a little ball of flavour (£3.50). Served with sprouts, spicy chickpeas and chilli jam, cut the bomb open to reveal its secret interior.
From the grill, the classic Chicken Tikka is a crowd pleaser (£3.50), while the Butter Chicken (£7.50), a Delhi-style curry, hits the spot with melt-in-the-mouth meat and a punchy sauce. Accompany this with the Prawn Pulao (£6.50) and the Hankies Dal (£4.50). The latter, a dish made famous by Dishoom, is a vibrant twist on black lentil stew, so full of oomph that it will have you diving back in for more.
End your culinary adventure with a small plate of homemade Mango and Saffron Kulfi (£3) – delightfully creamy and beautifully presented.
With a refined setting and a simple but thorough menu, it is clear that love has gone into every aspect of Hankies. A meal here feels more like an exploration of Arora’s home kitchen than an evening at a hotel restaurant, and this can only be a good thing. The renowned chef knows Indian cuisine inside out, convincing each diner that tapas-style Indian dining is the only way forward.
Book yourself a table for a romantic evening for two, an affordable dinner with friends or a casual Tuesday night feast, because Hankies promises to deliver a delicious insight into Indian gastronomy.
Hankies Marble Arch, 61 Upper Berkeley Street, London W1H 7PP
0208 958 3222