Indian restaurant in London
Hankies is an Indian restaurant in London named after the traditional roomali (meaning handkerchief) roti. We popped in to try their street food and tapas inspired menu located centrally on Shaftesbury Avenue.
Hankies is a small, cosy restaurant with a bar area and the staff were friendly on arrival. We sat at the bar whilst waiting for a table watching the open grill and chef at work.
There are a range of Indian inspired drinks to choose from and great classics with a twist. We opted for the spicy lychee with vodka, lychee and green chilli. I was hesitant on seeing chopped up green chillies in my drink but quite enjoyed it. There certainly was a good kick of heat but a little more fruitiness would have been even better. The nimbu pani (ginger syrup, lemon, soda & mint) was fresh and zingy. The cocktail menu is really reasonable at £6.95 each and has some interesting drinks, including a blueberry lassi!
We tried the dahi puri (£5, yogurt-y cousin of the popular pani puri). They were crunchy and tangy and really moreish . The bhindi bhel (£5) we tried was also great – crisped puff rice with real bite and sweet chutney. Also top marks for presentation as it arrived in a little bucket!
We ordered the pumpkin paneer (£6.50) and the portion was generous with big lovely cheesy blocks in a really rich, bright orange sauce. We mopped up the sauce with an order of huge roomali (hanky) rotis (£1.90). They were thin, light and deceptively massive!
We also tried the crab chilli fry (£11) served with a pickled hen’s egg. If you do not like (or fancy) a sauce-y curry dish then go for these dry “from the pan” dishes. My favourite however was definitely the paneer and I would recommend trying that. We ordered raita (£2) to temper the heat and some mango ‘n’ basil chutney which provided a sharp sweetness to the meal.
We opted for the kheer and gajrella (both £4.50 each). The kheer, a traditional Indian rice pudding, was a caramel version with mango and cardamom. Whilst the texture of this kheer was totally spot on, I found the caramel and mango addition a little too sweet for my taste buds but worth a try if you like ‘em sugary! The gajrella, a carrot fudge pudding, had a great soft texture with an earthy flavour – perfect. I would suggest ordering a scoop or two of kulfi/ice cream (£4) to go with it for extra yumminess!
Hankies is a warm, friendly restaurant and its smaller size and low lighting means it has an intimate feel. It is the kind of place that is ideal for a proper catch up over good food. The tapas, sharing style menu adds to the vibe and it is a perfect excuse to try everyone else’s dishes too! The menu was reasonably priced and the quality of the food on point. If you are looking for a relaxed new Indian restaurant in London to try then pop in!
East London Girl: Hankies Cafe
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