• Roxii Hoare-Smith

A Gourmet Feast at Hankies, Shaftesbury Avenue

Hankies is a casual Indian street food restaurant located on Shaftesbury Avenue, just a stone’s throw from Soho, China Town and Piccadilly Circus.

Hankies specialises in serving Indian Tapas and Roomali Roti – a classic Indian roti which is hand spun until its thin enough to see through it,  then cooked on a burning hot Roomali Tawa and folded into ‘Hankies’, hence the restaurants name!

My dad and I arrived at Hankies around 6.30pm and it was buzzing with a pre-theatre crowd. I was immediately impressed by Hankies and it wasn’t just the beautiful aroma of the dishes whizzing by us but how lovely the staff were. We were shown to our table and guided through the menu and were also offered a few recommendations. So based upon this we began ordering our Indian tapas feast!

First up was the Tokri ‘Basket’ Chaat (£5.50) which was unlike any dish I’ve ever had before. We were presented with a carefully crafted basket made out of potato and filled with sprouts, sweet potato, tangy mint and tamarind chutney topped with pomegrante seeds. Such an incredible dish which was an explosion of different flavours.

As a side dish we ordered the Bhindi Bhel (£5) to have with the meat we ordered. The Bhindi Bhel was a mix of crispy okra, rice puff, sweet chutney, onions and fresh coriander. It didn’t disappoint, it was one of the most flavoursome rice dishes I’ve ever tasted.

We ordered the lamb chops from the Grill section of the menu, priced at £5 for 1 piece or £9 for 2 pieces, the lamb chops are marinated in kashmiri chillies, paprika and mustard oil. We were absolutely blown away. This was the shining star out of all of the dishes we tried. Absolutely incredible. By far the best lamb chops I’ve had.

If you need a reason to go to Hankies. These are your reason!

Following my trip to India four years ago, I return a huge fan of paneer. So of course I had to order the Pumpkin Paneer dish (£6.50) from the Vegetables menu. This dish features pumpkin flavoured homemade paneer cooked in a peppery coconut curry. My dad wasn’t so sure of this dish as it didn’t have as much flavour as the others, but I loved it. I also really enjoy creamy curries so this was ideal for me. This dish had quite a kick to it, so not for those who prefer mild curries, but it was delicious and very satisfying.

We also shared the Tawa Lamb Masala (£8), slow braised lamb with green peppers, ginger and tomatoes which is a speciality of Lahore. An equally as flavoursome dish with a fiery kick, very tasty and so  enjoyable. Although to be honest there wasn’t one dish I didn’t enjoy!

We also enjoyed a basket of Hankies speciality – Hankies! These were perfect for moping up each dish.

My dad devoured the Crab chilli fry (£11), crab meat stir fried with fresh chillies, curry leaf and spring onions served with a pickled hen’s egg. I can’t have too much fish as it makes me ill but I couldn’t resist a few mouthfuls so can confirm that dish was amazing, so full of flavour and 100% worth ordering.

The dishes were washed down with a bottle of Tokumaru Bay New Zealand sauvignon blanc (£28). A delicious wine with tropical fruit aromas and a hint of gooseberries.

We stayed in Hankies for a couple of hours making our way through this gourmet feast. The staff were so friendly and welcoming making our visit to Hankies truly memorable. Everyone helped us with recommendations and explained each dish to us as they were served.

Hankies is a great place whether you want a quick meal before a show, or if you want to order a full on feast and spend a couple of hours savouring all of the wonderful Indian flavours. Hankies is a must-visit if you are in the area , I know I’ll definitely be returning.  And if you do, you must get the lamb chops!!!

Hankies Cafe 67 Shaftesbury Avenue London W1D 6EX

Hankies Café is open Monday-Thursday 12pm-3pm and 5pm-11pm; Friday and Saturday 12pm-11pm and Sunday 12pm-3pm and 5pm-11pm.

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