Having previously visited Hankies Cafe at Shaftesbury Avenue, I am thrilled to hear them opening up another branch at Marble Arch! While Hankies Cafe features a more canteen-style setting, Hankies Marble Arch is totally different. Located within the Montcalm Hotel, a 5* Luxury Hotel in Marble Arch, Hankies Marble Arch has a much bigger space and nicer setting. The interior is elegant and much fancier than their original cafe.
Hankies Marble Arch at The Montcalm
Hankies started as a small cafe / canteen-style restaurant at Piccadilly and specialise in Delhi street food dishes in small-dish tapas-style. At this new Marble Arch branch, they are still serving up street-style dishes but in a more sophisticated way. It’s almost a fine-dining take on their original menu but still in an approachable and affordable manner.
Expect an elegant setting from the Montcalm Hotel – sophisticated yet very chilled. The menu of Hankies Marble Arch is also bigger than the cafe one so I was particularly excited to try out the new dishes. Everything is halal on the menu except for the duck.
The Food: What We Ordered
- Mocktail: Sicilian Kiss (£4.50)
- Roomali Roti (£1.75) & Spinach Roomali (£3)
- Sweet Potato Bomb (£3.5)
- Venison Shammi (£5.5)
- Chilli Lamb Chop (£4.5 per piece)
- Chicken Tikka (£3.5)
- 5oz Ribeye (£9)
- Kankda (£8.5)
- Pulao (£6.5)
- Truffle Naan (£5.5)
- Masala Chocolate Fondant (£3.5)
- Homemade ‘Chuski’ Sorbet Selection (£3)
- Masala Chai (£2.5) & Masala Coffee (£2.5)
Mocktail: Sicilian Kiss (£4.50)
Made with almond syrup, pineapple juice, and coconut cream, The Sicilian Kiss mocktail is essentially a tropical holiday in a glass! It smelled strongly of pineapple and tasted very fruity, tangy and refreshing. It’s a cold wintery day when we visited and the drink had totally got us dreaming of a tropical getaway.
Roomali Roti (£1.75) & Spinach Roomali (£3)
Roomali Roti is, in a nutshell, the hankies. These ‘hankies’ are classic Indian roti – hand-spun till it’s thin enough to read through then cooked on a burning hot roomali tawa and folded into ‘hankies’. While the cafe only serves the plain one, Hankies Marble Arch’s menu has included an extra option, i.e. the Spinach Roomali.
The Spinach Roomali is stuffed with spiced feta with roasted tomato, brushed with garlic herb oil. Normally, the roti needs to be accompanied by something saucy and savoury. However, for this spinach roomali roti, it’s definitely flavourful enough on its own. It’s almost like a garlic cheese wrap that I was just happily munching away without needing to pair it with anything else.
Sweet Potato Bomb (£3.5)
We weren’t originally going to order this but the staff kept urging us to try it, and so we did. The sweet potato bomb is basically like one big croquette, served over a bed of sprouts and spicy chickpeas, and drizzled with a jaggery and chilli jam.
The exterior was beautifully crispy while the inside was nice and mushy. The sweet potato was mushed up to a very smooth texture and was almost creamy to taste. While it says to be spicy, we both found it actually sweet with a mild tangy touch. It’s definitely quite an interesting dish to try out.
Venison Shammi (£5.5)
The Venison Shammi is essentially a twist on traditional shammi kebabs. Instead of a traditional meat patty, it’s got more of a pate-like texture. The exterior carried a light crisp whereas the inside carried this interesting texture that’s like a mix of shredded meat and smooth pate. Topped with a dollop of yoghurt cheese, it added richness to the dish, but perhaps just a tad too much. We both felt that whilst the dish was decent, it could use a more intense savoury flavour and umami to create a sharper sensation to the palate. A fennel mint chutney was also served alongside the dish but we both weren’t a fan of it.
Chilli Lamb Chop (£4.5 per piece)
Same as their original cafe, the lamb chops are marinated in Kashmiri chillies, paprika and mustard oil. Compared to the cafe ones, these seem to look more reddish in colour. The meat was nicely presented over a wooden board and served with a green peas sauce. The meat was quite tender and the flavours were good. It carried a little kick of spice which was just right to tease the palate. Nonetheless, just as I mentioned in my previous review for Hankies Cafe, I thought the lamb chops could be slightly cooked less in order to achieve that pink medium effect.
Chicken Tikka (£3.5)
We thoroughly enjoyed the flavours of this chicken tikka. The meat was tender, well marinated and seasoned. For me, it wasn’t succulent and juicy enough, especially having the comparison of their grilled chicken at the cafe. Don’t get me wrong, the dish was still great but just lacked that little extra oomph for me.
5oz Ribeye (£9)
I wasn’t expecting steaks on the menu so when I saw this on the menu, I was super excited to try it out. Serving alongside the steak was a little pot of spice rub that’s composed of garlic, paprika and masala. The steak was cooked to medium-well. It’s nicely seared on the outside, with a tender and juicy texture. Flavour-wise it was nice and savoury, with a subtle tease of spice. With a squeeze of lime, it added a tangy touch as well. We really enjoyed this one and would definitely recommend trying it out.
The Gotala is basically stir-fried masala crab meat and potatoes, baked in an egg custard. Following their cafe’s Crab & Egg Gotala, I was highly anticipating this one. I expected it to have all the flavours of the original curry all packed into baked egg form. However, it turned out rather underwhelming.
The dish was pretty much a quiche with just a tiny pinch of Indian flavours. I liked the idea and concept for the dish but it was really lacking a punch to the palate and robust flavours.
For the pulao, you get to choose from either chicken, prawns, or seasonal vegetables. We got the prawns.
While the majority of the dishes of the night had been great or at least decent, I must say I was rather disappointed with this one. Unfortunately, it was dry and rather bland. The prawns carried a mild hint of spice but it wasn’t enough to lift the flavours of this dish.
Truffle Naan (£5.5)
To go with all the mains, we went for the Truffle Naan. Initially, I thought it was just going to be naan brushed with truffle oil. But to my absolute delight, it’s more than that. The Truffle Naan was stuffed with vintage cheddar and cumin, and then topped with shaved truffle.
The perfumy and earthy aroma of the truffle just filled the table upon serving. It’s lightly stuffed with cheese but it’s not too heavy or rich to taste. I absolutely loved it.
Masala Chocolate Fondant (£3.5)
Moving onto desserts, when there is Chocolate Fondant on the menu, I’m ordering it. In this Masala Chocolate Fondant, it is topped with pistachio and candy pops, with coconut kulfi on the side. The warm chocolate fondant has a gooey melty texture on the inside. Not sure about the masala part as I couldn’t taste much of it. The coconut kulfi wasn’t super coconut-y but very light and delicate, which complemented the chocolate fondant well.
Homemade ‘Chuski’ Sorbet Selection (£3)
The chuski sorbet were elegantly presented with petals on top. Though small in size, they were looking exquisite and no doubt packed with flavours. The flavours include Passion Fruit, and Red guava & Chaat. The passion fruit one was incredibly fruity, whereas the other was very tangy and refreshing.
Masala Chai (£2.5) & Masala Coffee (£2.5)
To finish off the evening, we ordered a Masala Chai and Masala Coffee. Instead of serving sugar as sweeteners, Hankies Marble Arch presents a very nice collection box containing various sweeteners. My favourite is the jaggery, which releases such a delicate natural sweetness.
I had the Masala Coffee, which I absolutely adored. The coffee has the right amount of strength and intensity to my liking. The spice mix already included a little bit of sugar so it’s already slightly sweet and I didn’t need the extra sweeteners. As for the masala chai, it was okay. We thought it could use an extra punch of spice in it.
Restaurant Review Summary
I guess everyone’s immediate question is whether the cafe or this new fancier establishment is better? The two, though similar, are definitely quite distinct from one another. That being said, it’s hard to do a fair comparison. Nonetheless, in my opinion, the Hankies Cafe might just be a teeny bit better than Hankies Marble Arch. The reason being, I felt the cafe managed to offer more robust flavours whereas this one came across as more conservative with it. I thoroughly enjoyed some of the dishes, especially the starters and the ribeye. From there, the meal seemed to have gone through an anti-climatic phase before picking back up on a higher note through desserts. But one thing inarguable is the restaurant setting. Hankies Marble Arch no doubt has a much nicer setting that’s more suited for dates and special occasions.
All meats are halal at Hankies Marble Arch except for the duck.
Alcohol is served at the restaurant.
Tel: 020 7958 3222
Nearest station: Marble Arch