I’ve been to this place twice in a week, the first visit I took a chance without any knowledge about the place, turns out I’ve found an absolute gem.
I started writing the review based on my first visit, but before I got around to posting it I went again, so this review is based on 2 different visits less than one week apart.
Hankies Cafe is located on Shaftesburys Avenue right in the west end. From the outside is a small, hidden and easy to miss with all the sights and sounds of the buzzing city.
Hankies focuses on serving up simple Indian tapas style street food which has become a trend among new restaurants that have similar food. I learned that a hankie is a basically a large thing roti that’s thin enough to read through. These made fresh as is one of the first things you see when you enter.
I visited here on my lunch break and took my mum out for a quick lunch, she’s fussy when it comes to food but like myself she loved the food here.
The menu is small and simple, here’s what I ordered and thought of each item.
From the street bites menu, DAHI PURI Four simple Bhel Puri with okra, onion, pomegranate, rice puffs, chilli tomato chutney. With yoghurt and Tamarind sauce over them. Great textures and good flavours, a really good start.7.5/10 – £4
Chive and Garlic Grilled prawns. These were absolutely fantastic. The quality and freshness of the prawn were of a high standard. The prawns were marinated in simple flavours and cooked to perfection. These are on par with some Michelin starred prawns I had from barrafina. 10/10 £6.50
Off the grill menu again I went for 2 chili lamb chops. Once again I was impressed with what I ate. The flavours were good, but the quality of the lamb and the way it was cooked was just perfect. There was a perfect amount of fat which just melted in the mouth upon each bite. The lamb chop was cooked to a perfect medium rare and prepared in what I’ve learned recently as French trim, where they remove the meat off the bone/rib area.
Each lamb chop is £4.50, but if I compare with Dishoom 3 lamb chops for a £18 then it is worth it. I’m gonna give it 10/10.
Next came the yellow chili fish tikka. I’m not sure what fish it was but I’m guessing mackerel from the smell. After having the prawns and lamb chops this fish tikka was not as good as these two items, but we’re still decent nevertheless.
If you go at lunch time you can order a full Indian Thali called a HANKIES LUNCH costing £9.5
where you can choose – Chicken Dhaba or Kidney N’ Keema Kachori Poppers, Dal, Hankies Salad, Raita, Roomali, Aam Gur Ki Kher. I liked what I tried, apart from the daal and I didn’t try the raita as it’s not something I eat. The (kher) rice pudding dessert was really good. I got the chicken Dhaba, a simple chicken curry.It also came with a hankie but I also ordered an additional one which came with this very simple but great tasting side dish.
The total bill was less than £20!
When you factor in location and the quality of the food, the prices are really worth your money.
Here are some items from my 2nd visit
KACHORI POPPERS £4.5, green peas, lotus stem chips, yoghurt and Tamarind mint Chutney.
LEMON CHILLI & JAGGERY CHICKEN £4.5, These were really good, very soft, tender and juicy – main issue is with the portion amount and maybe could do with a bit more flavour or sauce added. 8.5/10
KIDNEY N’ KEEMA £5.5, lamb mince, kidney, tomato and coriander sauce. Simple but tasted great – 8/10
EGG & CRAB GOTALA £7.5, eggs ‘masala’, spicy crab. A non meat dish, you could taste that fishy crab was a different dish
CHILLI LAMB CHOP £4.5 (per chop) – Still amazing and just a must.
CHIVE & GARLIC PRAWN £6.5 – I don’t know how they get it so soft, they taste so good. 9/10
If this place was Dishoom or some other hipster place it would of queues all the time. I like the fact that’s it’s new and undiscovered. I’m hoping that they keep up the standards and that it was not a one off. The food was excellent, venue clean, modern and contemporary and service friendly and welcoming. Food is served when ready so items come out at different times. Also, I managed to get 50% using my tastecard. So value wise it was brilliant – and I’ve based my score on this fact.