Flavour of the week: Hankies Marble Arch
Beautiful-looking and delicious tasting modern Indian food has well and truly landed on Upper Berkeley Street, Marble Arch. Set in the luxurious surrounds of The Montcalm Hotel between Oxford Street and Edgware Road, this area of London really has become the place to be seen. Having opened its doors this January, Hankies Marble Arch is a comforting blend of old and new that presents an affordable, upscale take on authentic Indian street food – offering gourmands something just a little different.
Set on the ground floor of The Montcalm Hotel, Hankies was always going to look stylish. Gold, creams and brown fill the room with soft brass furnishings. Light floods through the large windows by day and by night the restaurant is lit with dimmed lights and a cosy glowing lantern on each table. Gorgeous artefacts, bright blue glassware and beautifully decorated china sourced from Indian markets and antique stores by chef and Hankies founder Anirudh Arora help to cement the authentic, casual but upscale tone.
What to eat
The menu created by head chef Anirudh Arora is modelled on a Deli street cafe and based around the roomali roti snacks that are popular in India. Anirudh’s menu showcases relaxed north Indian cooking at its finest. Small plates are the thing here, which our waiter describes as “tapas style” so you’ll definitely need several plates – never a bad thing as this means you can taste a lot of the menu in one big epic feast.
It’s all inexpensive with the most expensive dish on the menu just £9 and the majority around £4-6. Highlights include the Bhindi Behl – a fresh, fruity and very pretty dome of crispy okra and rice puff, sweet chutney, onions and coriander. Both the textures and flavours are superb. There is also delicious crispy ‘gold’ cod, made with golden turmeric and fragrant Amritsari spices. It is at its best when dipped in the orange sour mango dip that accompanies it. My personal favourite is the bowl of butter chicken curry, a classic Delhi style dish made with a delicious creamy tomato sauce that has a real ‘kick’ to it thanks to the fenugreek and garam masala.
Make sure to include Hankies signature house dish, the Hankies roti – a thin, wheat-based flatbread folded into the shape of a handkerchief. Hence the name ‘Hankies’. These light and tasty flatbreads can be incorporated into every dish on the menu and make the perfect accompaniment to mop up the leftover curry sauce.
The dessert menu contains a variety of tempting exotic treats and we can’t help but sample the small yet gorgeous portions of homemade Kulfi ice cream. We opt for pistachio and coconut along with pineapple carpaccio. Delicately presented it’s the perfect finish to a perfect meal.
What to drink
There are a few tempting Indian inspired cocktails on the menu as well as house wines and beers (Cobra of course) but don’t miss the Smoky Mexican and the masala coffee. With each cocktail just £5.50 it would be rude not to try a couple!
Putting it simply, Hankies Marble Arch is a winning formula of delicious Delhi street food in an enjoyable, beautiful and curated London setting. The menu has all the elements of what you would expect from an Indian restaurant and the flavours all in-keeping with authentic Indian street food. This is Delhi Street food but in a rather chic London restaurant.
61 Upper Berkeley Street, W1H 7PP, +44 20 7958 3222