London has a vast array of Indian restaurants, showcasing every type of cuisine from vegetarian Thali to Indian street food. The city’s most famous curry spot is Brick Lane, also know as Banglatown, renowned for its classic curries and voracious touting.
Hankies Marble Arch, which opened in January, is offering something a little different: small plates of Indian fusion food full of flavour and served in the rather luxurious surroundings of Montcalm Hotel in Marble Arch.
This is Chef Anirudh Arora’s second Hankies undertaking, following on from his modest Indian café in Shaftesbury Avenue. At Hankies Marble Arch, he has brought Delhi street food into the world of fine dining, and in my view, has succeeded with great aplomb.
The restaurant itself is modern and comfortable with white and orange furnishings and comfy chairs. It’s not exactly minimalist but neither is it overly gaudy. Heavy blue glasses and beautifully decorated plates adorn the table, which have been personally sourced by Chef Arora from Indian markets and antique stores.
For drinks, I ordered a Hugo cocktail, a mix of Prosecco, elderflower and mint. My only gripe was that it could have done with a little more elderflower. My partner really enjoyed his mango lassi, a classic Indian drink that is blended with yogurt, water and spices.
The menu is chock full of aromatic and spicy small dishes suited to both vegetarians and pure carnivores. The most expensive dish, a 5 Oz Ribeye steak with a garlic, paprika and masala rub, is just £9. My partner and I shared six dishes between us and were thoroughly satisfied by the end of the meal.
The house dish is the roomali roti, a thin, wheat-based flatbread folded into the shape of a hanky. These light and tasty flatbreads can be incorporated into every dish on the menu.
My personal favourites included a bowl of sweet and crispy duck called Bhatak Ki Khurchan, which came with masala cashews garnished with mint and watermelon. Both the textures and flavours were superb. We also really enjoyed the Khumb Kofta, a wild mushroom curry with a creamy cashew sauce that had a real kick to it. The Truffle Naan was the perfect accompaniment to mop up the leftover curry sauce.
Verdict: Every dish we tried at Hankies Marble Arch was delicious, and I was very impressed with the prices. One could easily enjoy dinner for two (with drinks) for under £50. What a revelation for central London!
When: Hankies Marble Arch is open Monday-Saturday from 12:00-14:45 and 17:45-22:45. It is closed on Sundays.
Getting there: the nearest tube station is Marble Arch and it takes only 5 minutes to reach the restaurant.