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Hankies Marble Arch (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of Hankies Marble Arch in Marylebone, London

61 Upper Berkeley Street, Marylebone, London, W1H 7PP
Cuisine: Indian
Tel: 020 7958 3222 | Email to Hankies Marble Arch | Transport: Marble Arch | Write review

Hankies Marble Arch Review

Top 10 things you should know about Hankies:

1) Name - Yes, it is a bit odd, but it comes from the restaurant’s speciality – thin, almost see-through rotis grilled and then folded neatly or stuffed. If you can, grab a seat near the mini-kitchen on the side to watch the chef spin the rotis overhead like pizza before placing them carefully over a hot metal globe.

2) Location – tucked behind Bond Street among a jumble of luxury hotels, this Indian restaurant in Marylebone is not the kind of place you would naturally stumble across unless you were staying in the area, or got lost whilst shopping on Oxford Street. As this is a London hotel restaurants, this is possibly how most clientele will find it. But Hankies is worth a visit even if you’re not a staying guest. The restaurant can be accessed either through the hotel lobby or through its own, slightly classier, entrance round the back.

3) Décor – Hankies has a slightly hotel feel, but it’s undoubtedly classy and has some frankly fascinating bronze lighting fixtures. Bathe in the flattering warm copper light and genuinely claim #nofilter in your Instagram feed. They haven’t ignored the details either - my cutlery-stealing student days may be over, but I’ve never wanted to steal the plates more.

4) Vision – Curry house this is not. Hankies is part of a wider trend of restaurants reinventing what Indian cooking means to a British public, spearheaded most famously by Dishoom. Picking up on the street food trend, the menu describes itself as tapas so you should expect to order 3-4 dishes per person.

5) How it works - The menu is split into “small dishes” (I’d argue it’s all small dishes, but whatever), “grills”, “vegetables”, “pots and pans” and “sides”, along with the naans and hankies. Food comes out sporadically when it’s ready, so order a few and get more as you go. Tip – if you’re in for a long session, order a few less hankies than you need – gorgeously soft and delicate when they come out, they can go hard and cold if left too long. Ask for more only when you need them.

6) What’s hot? - I cannot emphasise enough – go for the grill. The chicken tikka was succulent and beautifully spiced, while the lamb chop was a good balance of paprika, chilli and charcoal. Elsewhere on the menu, the Hankies daal is a stunner, and the bhatak khi khurchan (crispy duck in a sweet sauce), although feeling slightly out of place with it’s fusion-Chinese spices, had a pleasant chewiness. Mop up everything with a hankie stuffed with feta, spinach, roasted tomato and garlic oil.

7) What’s not? – The dahi Bhalla was too reminiscent of a sweet rice pudding to have with the mains for my taste, and while the keema was good, it was eerily similar to a shepherd's pie. Focus on the grill.

8) Booze – The solid wine and beer list is very reasonably priced– unusual given the location – and the cocktails won’t break the bank either. The smokey Mexican cocktail, with mescal, lime and orange aromatics, sounds intriguing.

9) Sweet things – The dessert menu mixes Indian and European flavours to pleasant effect. Try the homemade ice creams, or the rose-perfumed caramelised mango with ginger honeycomb.

10) Who to bring? – While you’ll spot a few couples, this restaurant seems ideally suited for small groups of happy people. Bring a friend or four and order every single dish off the grill menu.
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