What? Indian street food and roti restaurant Hankies has opened its second site, serving a classier menu in a more sophisticated setting to its Soho sister. The original Hankies opened on Shaftesbury Avenue, but the new outpost is tucked away behind Marble Arch in the Montcalm Hotel.
Who? Chef and founder Anurudh Arora is a former protégé of renowned Indian chef Atul Kochhar, owner of Michelin-starred Benares. Arora already operates Nirvana Kitchen in Marylebone, so the new Hankies will be the third site in his portfolio.
The vibe? Despite being housed within the Montcalm, Hankies is accessed through a separate door giving it a feel of being entirely separate from the hotel. The white linen, blue glassware, decorative napkin rings and gold cutlery mark a clear upscaling of the Shaftesbury restaurant, which is decidedly more casual.
The food? The menu, created by Arora, is based around the popular Delhi preparation roomali roti- a hand spun flatbread cooked on a hot tawa stove and folded into a ‘hankie’. Street food dishes here are given an upmarket twist, with simple dishes like naan breads taken up a level with shaved black truffle, cumin and cheddar, or keema naans stuffed with mint and chili marinated guinea fowl mince, maple and cumin. Classics like butter chicken and chicken tikka sit alongside more unusual options of tarragon paneer with padron peppers, walnuts, tomato and curry leaf sauce; crispy turmeric cod with sour mango dip; and garlic masala rib eye with onion salad.
The drinks? Drinks options span the traditional and non traditional, and offer a large choice for both drinkers and tee-totallers. ‘Ginger ananas’ comprises pineapple juice, Jamaican rum, ginger and honey, given an Indian twist with a hint of cinnamon. A lassi, spiced with cardamom, looks authentic when it comes in a little bottle with ice at the end of the meal.
And another thing? New-wave Indian cuisine is making a mark on the restaurant scene, and operators like Gunpowder, Kricket, The Darjeeling Express and Madam D’s were some of 2017’s key players. At the end of last year, Indian Accent opened its first UK outpost, serving Indian food with modern twists in a fine dining setting.