*All food is halal except the Duck.
Last year I came across a small little cafe style Indian restaurant called Hankies Cafe, they served up brilliant small plates or Indian tapas. I loved it so much, it soon became my most frequently visited restaurant with a total of 17 different visits in 2017. I rated it highly.
I was told by Hankies, who know me pretty well, that they were opening a new restaurant in Marble Arch. This one would be more upmarket and fine dining rather than relaxed cafe style so I could not wait to visit.
Located inside a hotel, the decor and atmosphere is really nice. It feels upmarket and could serve well on a romantic date night or just a catch up with friends.
The menu is similar to the cafe restaurant but also has a few additional items. The head chef (and founder) from the cafe now heads up the restaurant in Marble Arch. What I found impressive is not a single item was above £9 which is unheard of in central London and certainly for a restaurant in a setting like this hotel.
I decided to try as many new items as I could.
Mango Lassi with a hint of cardamom. Sweet lassi, but I wasn’t to keen on that hit of cardamom
Ginger lemon Fizz Fresh ginger, lemon and brown sugar, topped with sparkling water. Was not sweet enough and the ginger fizz didn’t last.
The food is tapas style, so comes out when ready.
I like getting a keema naan, but whenever I get it, it’s never good, the keema always slips and falls off. But here, this was great and easily the best keema naan I’ve had.
9/10 – Recommended
Sweet potato bomb £3.50
Sprouts, spicy chickpeas, jaggery and chilli jam
A very creative and well-balanced dish with great usage of the jam to enhance the flavour of the sweet potato. The additional items on the plate also added a nice extra layer of texture as well.
8/10 – Recommended
VENISON SHAMMI, £5.50
Made to a pate, stuffed with yoghurt cheese and red onions, fennel mint chutney
This dish didn’t work for me. The cream cheese was not nice. Don’t order this. Even if you like cheese.
Lamb chop, £4.50 per chop
Marinated in Kashmiri chillies, paprika and mustard oil
One of my favourites from the cafe are the lamb chops. The spice mix and cut make it so good. Here, the cut was definitely from a different supplier and the spice mixed-used was a little different, less intense on the spice and heat.
The chop was slightly overcooked for me. like my lamb medium rare and this was closer to medium well. But still it was a good chop – it had what you want from a chop, thickness, juiciness and that melt the mouth layer of fat flavour.
8.5/10 – Recommended
Gosht Rib Eye, £9
Garlic, paprika and masala rub
I was feeling a bit greedy and added this after all my food came and I forgot to tell them how I wanted it cooked. The 5oz steak arrived medium well, they did say they were happy to change it to medium rare, but i don’t like food going to waste so stuck with the medium well steak.
A Indian style steak, cooked with strong Indian spices. Great value for money at only £9. It definitely would have tasted better if it was cooked under. Nevertheless, I found a little strip that was cooked medium, which tasted really nice. You know when you go to a steak place but you know your mum can’t eat it because she wants something well done and with some spice, well she will like this.
BUTTER CHICKEN, £7.50
Classic Delhi style, creamy tomato sauce, fenugreek and garam masala
This was good, but not great. The flavours here were definitely toned down for the “British” customer. It lacked depth in flavour, not enough sweetness and too much tomato for me. But the chicken was good enough but the dish needs a little improvement.
Stir fried masala crab meat and potatoes, baked
This felt more like somthing you would have for breakfast, i bit too eggy for me.
I regret not tying more non-meat options but I have had most of the vegetarian items already.
Khumb kofta, £7.50
Wild mushroom ‘kofta’ creamy cashew sauce with baby morels
Once this arrived at my table, I realised i have had this before from the Cafe. It’s a nice dish, but a bit too creamy for me and not enough flavour.
Chocolate fondant, £3.50
When I got the dessert menu I was so excited to see my favourite, a chocolate fondant, then I saw the jaw-droppingly low price of £3.50. So, I thought this would be rubbish.
I was wrong.
I loved this dessert. So good. The presentation, the oozing chocolate, the sweetness and additional raspberry all worked together to create a brilliant dessert
10/10 – Recommended
Loads of different flavours going on here, I definitely tasted rose water along with the caramelised mango, honey and a hint of ginger. I bit too complex when something simple would have been better. A very pretty dessert and amazing value at £3.50
Meetar caviar, £4.50
A take on caviar, the chef has created a dessert that is take on the popular canapé.
Something I wouldn’t have ordered, this was a recommendation and was compliments of the chef. The caviar is basically the bits from a laddoo, you eat with cheese and fruitcake. But interesting to try, it’s very light so would go well with tea.
In summary, there were some good items and others that were not something I liked. I think the cafe works better for the tapas concept. I would recommend going and keeping the order to the items I rated, but also trying some non-meat options and make sure you try that Chocolate fondant!
*I was invited to review here, the meal was complimentary. Views are my own.