I have always loved Indian food and throughout my life eaten a range of different types at restaurants and at peoples homes. I am always keen to trying new dishes and was extremely excited about a recent visit to a restaurant called Hankies on Shaftsbury Avenue in London. Hankies is an Indian street food restaurant. They serve Indian tapas (small plates) and specialise in Roomali roti and Indian flatbread. You can see the head chef Manoj Kumar making them at the front of the restaurant so they are nice and fresh for diners. These roti are great as you can use them to scoop up juices and trust me you are not going to want to waste a thing.
Here he is in action just for you guys making Hankies / Roti.
On arriving at the restaurant we were greeted warmly and shown to our table. The menu was not particularly large but it is a good size to offer enough choice and I noted there were vegetarian options available. For cocktail lovers you will be in your element, the cocktails are superb.
The Nimbu Pani (non alcoholic) was amazingly refreshing and boasted a wealth of flavours that combined exquisitely well. The Guava Spritz (alcoholic) was equally delicious and took me back to holidaying in places like the Dominican Republic with the beautiful sandy beaches and crystal clear warm sea. It was reasonably priced at £6 too. Ladies this is the perfect place for food and a bite with friends as you can see and I haven’t even shown you the food.
I must warn you that you will now be exposing your eyes to some mouthwatering dishes so unless it’s their opening hours and you are located nearby then look away as otherwise you will hate me for teasing you.
Crispy puri, yellow peas, potato, sprouts, sweet yogurt tamarind and sev.
Now we were told that it is of the utmost importance to eat these as soon as possible as they are served cold and crispy and are best eaten that way and in time loose their crisp texture. I grabbed my camera and got snapping as I knew you’d all love to see these beauties. Wow don’t they look wonderful and the best part is they taste as good as they look.
The crispy outer shell works well and the smooth savoury spiced filling with the peas and potato contrast beautifully with the sweetness from the yogurt and the tamarind. I loved these and so did my friend, they were fantastic. I am hoping she will teach me how to make them – how exciting!
Green peas, yogurt, green chilli, mascapone cheese.
These looked good as I saw them on another table and decided we had to try them. I had also been told as well as the Dahi Puri these were also a popular dish so we were doing well with our selection. Again a great dish, these had more of a heat kick to them and were packed with flavour.
These are served hot and have a crispy coating which hides within a soft spiced pea and mascapone cheese. They were extremely tasty with a light crispy coating and soft smooth filling with chunks of peas. The dip was great too and even without this you have a tasty dish.
Traditional black lentil stew.
Lovely and warming this typical Indian dish is perfect to dip those hankies in. This is mild and tasty and a great comfort dish. It’s perfect for this season and makes a lovely comfort dish to warm up with after a touch of shopping. Often these dishes can be oily and you normally see the oil gathering at the top – not with this. There wasn’t a drop of oil at the top of the dal.
Hankies with mango and basil chutney and chicken chutney.
We of course had to try the roti / hankies with some chutneys too. The mango chutney was sweet as expected and lovely and the chicken chutney was more savoury and spicy and also yummy. It had actual chunks of chicken hidden within which I have never seen before.
Chilli Lamb Chops
Marinated in kashmiri chillies, paprika and mustard.
This was in a word “amazing”! The mix of the spices and the smokey flavour from having been cooked on the grill made this perfect. I can’t see how this dish could be improved on. The meat was thick, juicy and tender and didn’t have any fat on it whatsoever and trust me with my x-ray vision and fat detecting instincts (self trained since childhood) I would have found it. I could have easily stuffed myself silly on these had I known they would be so good. Served with guacamole and lime which worked incredibly well all I can say is if you eat meat they are a must try!!! I heard that people try these when they visit and then then immediately order more which is hardly surprising.
Chive and Garlic Prawn
Grilled jumbo prawn with chive and garlic.
The blend of spices combined with the smoky flavour from the grill make this mouth-wateringly good and a squeeze of the lemon provided finishes it nicely. This is served with a yogurt and cucumber dip (raita) to help cool the palete. I loved the size of the prawn it was lovely and meaty and another I would strongly recommend.
Seabass with spices.
Honestly the list of amazing dishes goes on at this restaurant as this too was gorgeous. The fish was cooked to perfection and lovely and plump, juicy and beautifully spiced. Again grilled to give it a smokey flavour this worked well with the raita.
Roadside dry chicken curry.
A lovely spicy dish, watch out for the green chillies. I loved the addition of raw ginger slithers to add heat, crunch and flavour and the addition of the coriander adding it’s freshness to the dish. The chunks of chicken were tender and tasty.
We were stuffed silly by this point so requested one dessert to share. The dessert of choice was the Gajarela. This dish is made with carrots and evaporated milk and is served warm. It was nicely spiced and not excessively sweet. This would have worked very well with a vanilla ice cream but unfortunately there was not room for any more food in our tummies as were were pretty full at this stage.
The restaurant size isn’t very large which is such a shame as their food is fantastic and they seem to be quite popular!!!! Service is fast and efficient. I was so pleased to see how passionate about food chef Manoj was and how he loved to talk about it as much as I do. Clearly a kindred spirit this gentleman knows his food you simply need to try it to understand fully how well. The dishes were all beautifully presented with fresh garnishes and you can see they put a lot of attention into the appearance as well as the flavour of the dishes. There is a pre theatre and lunch menu available and the chef also informed me that they were also going to have an afternoon tea available which you should be able to try now – I will need to try and find time one day to try this!
Another important thing to note is that you can use your tastecard here to get 50% off and they take walk ins on tastecard which many restaurants don’t do. This is a Fab Find that’s for sure and I am so pleased I have another restaurant I have tried and know is good to visit to refuel during or after my West End shopping trips.
Which of these dishes tantalises your taste buds the most?
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