Recently I visited Hankies Cafe in Shaftesbury Avenue, Soho. After a successful evening, at Hankies Marble Arch, with four other foodies; I thought I would give Hankies Cafe a try. The difference between the two Hankies is the layout and presentation. Hankies Cafe is more casual, whereas the Marble Arch branch is more refined for fine dining. Both have similar menus with a few differences.
Hankies Cafe serves tapa style Indian street food. The place can get extremely busy at times, with a small dining area and limited seating. It’s perhaps best to avoid visiting Hankies on Friday and Saturday as I found those days to be extremely busy. Hankies are actually named after the roti they make on site. A magical display of the chefs spinning roti dough in the air as they elegantly make a roomali roti. It is then folded so it looks like a handkerchief. Hence the name ‘Hankies’.
Dahi Puri’s an Absolute Must Try
Dahi Puri, simple, yet so good! These are easy to love, with a thin crisp outer shell (puri) filled with the softness of potatoes and yellow peas. It is then complemented with a healthy drizzle of sweet yoghurt and tamarind sauce. Sprinkled with Sev on top. Sev is an Indian snack consisting of small pieces of crunchy noodles made from chickpea flour paste. Dahi Puri’s are best eaten all at once, otherwise, it can break apart.
Lamb Chops So Good It’s Bound to Make your Mouth Drool
These lamb chops are marinated with Kashmiri chillis, paprika and mustard oil. It gives it a sort of tandoori taste to the lamb chops. Cooked to medium well, these chops were tender, with a little char on the bone. The lamb chops were definitely enjoyable on every bite. If you are to visit Hankies, you have to try the Lamb chops!
Beef Chilli – Not to be Mistaken for Chilli Con Carne
When you hear beef chilli, perhaps you think of the Mexican dish chilli con carne. Well, I can confirm this isn’t that. This dish reminded me of Chinese takeaway if I’m honest with you. The beef is cut into skinny long strips. Marinated in a sweet and chilli glaze, it’s definitely tasty while warm. Although the texture is chewy and the colder it gets, the harder it becomes. Can’t say it was the best beef I had.
Big and Juicy Prawns that Make you Lick your Lips for More
These prawns were big, soft and with the shell on them to retain the flavour. I’m a huge lover of prawns and these definitely hit the spot. The texture was different to the grape-like texture you usually get. It reminded me more of lobster or crab. These jumbo prawns are made with chives and garlic. I do recommend these prawns! Also, if you love prawns, you should try Zizzi’s!
Tawa Goat – The True Taste of India
If you really want to experience the flavours and taste of Indian cuisine, order the Tawa Goat. Diced goat meat, with a traditional Rogan sauce. This is typically a dry, but saucy, curry. Hankies Cafe made this extremely well, the goat would break so softly and melt in the mouth. Complimented by the chilli and heat of the tawa goat, this is best eaten with a roomali roti. In true Indian fashion, I managed to bite into a piece of cardamom when digging into this succulent meal.
Dhaba means roadside food stall or in some languages takeaway pot. The chicken dhaba is an Indian roadside style dry chicken curry. Don’t get put off by the description ‘dry chicken’. It’s not dry at all, the chicken was soft, juicy and delicious. Covered in a traditional tasty masala. Again, this is another dish you need to try with the Hankies roomali roti.
The chicken dhaba was soft, full of spices and flavour. Best with a roomali roti.
Pistachio Kulfi Ice Cream!
What better way is there, to finish your Indian cuisine experience, with a pistachio kulfi ice cream on a stick! These milky pistachio ice creams are simply the best and always worth a try if you have never experienced it before.
Hankies Cafe Conclusion
Hankies are a great place to dine, serving great tapa style Indian cuisine. Although, prices are quite high. £9 for 2 pieces of lamb chops and £12 for 2 pieces of prawns. However, prices can be justified with the brilliant food. The dining and seating area is extremely small, so it’s not best to bring buggies, children or large groups. I did use a Tastecard and managed to get 50% off at Hankies. The discount does not include sides or roti’s.
If you visit Hankies, I recommend buying a Tastecard. They’re currently offering 60 days trial for £1. It’s well worth it, especially for 50% off. I will be reviewing plenty more places with the Tastecard soon!
– The Chicken, Lamb and beef are Halal EXCEPT GUINEAFOWL
– The premises serves Alcohol
– Not family or large group friendly
Location: 67 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 6EX
Hankies Cafe is a small place, so sometimes there may be long queues or waiting times. I found that it's mainly empty during the weekday except for Friday and Saturday.
Get 50% Off with a Tastecard
You can get 50% off your bill at Hankies Cafe with a Tastecard. Terms and conditions apply.
Last modified: 4th May 2019