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 started as a small cafe / canteen-style restaurant at Piccadilly and specialise in Delhi street food dishes in tapas-style. At this new Marble Arch branch, they are still serving up street-style dishes but in a more sophisticated way. The menu of Hankies Marble Arch is also bigger than the cafe one and I was particularly excited to try out the new dishes. Everything is halal on the menu except for the duck.
Here is what we order:
- 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)
The Sicilian Kiss is one of the mocktails on the non-alcoholic section of the drinks menu. This drink is made with almond syrup, pineapple juice and coconut cream. It smelled strongly of pineapple and tasted very fruity, tangy and refreshing. It’s a cold wintery day when we visited and the drink definitely brought in some tropical feels.
Roomali Roti (£1.75) & Spinach Roomali (£3)
Roomali Roti is, in a nutshell, the Hankies. The Hankies are a classic Indian roti that’s hand-spun till its thin enough to read through. It’s 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 roti needs to be accompanied with something saucy and savoury. However, for this spinach roomali, it’s definitely flavourful enough on its own. It’s almost like a garlic cheese wrap.
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. It is served over a bed of sprouts and spicy chickpeas, and then 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. Though it says to be spicy, I find it actually sweet with a mild tangy touch. It’s definitely quite an interesting dish to try out.
Venison Shammi (£5.5)
This dish was like a shammi kebab but made to more of a pate texture. It is then topped with a dollop of yoghurt cheese and a fennel mint chutney on the side. The exterior carried a light crisp whereas the inside carried this interesting texture that’s like a mix of shredded meat and smooth pate. The cheese on top was richer than expected. Due to the richness of it, for my own preference, I would like the venison shammi to carry a more intense savoury flavour to create a sharper contrasting sensation to the palate. As for the chutney, we both weren’t a fan of it. In overall we liked the dish and thought it was an interesting one. It just wasn’t like wowing or incredibly spectacular, but worth giving a try.
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)
The Chicken Tikka was cooked street style with red chilli, mint and coriander. I thoroughly enjoyed the flavours. 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 ‘umph’ 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 adds 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 for 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 is pretty much a quiche with a pinch of Indian flavours. I liked the idea and concept for the dish but it was really lacking a punch to the palate and a robust touch.
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 disappointed with this one. Unfortunately, it was dry and rather bland. The prawns carried a hint of spice but in overall 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 perfume-y 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 some candy pops, and served with a 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.
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 this branch. Reason being, I felt the cafe managed to offer more robust flavours whereas this one came across more conservative with it. I thoroughly enjoyed some of the dishes, especially the starters and the ribeye. From there, the meal seemed to went 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