A food love letter to Mr and Mrs Hanky Panky, Chester

I love this couple.

Stephen and Rekhe Fowler are delightful, and one of the up-sides of this pandemic is that I have got to know them a lot better, and I am all the richer for that.

For me, they epitomise the independent food and drink spirit of the city. Hanky Panky Pancakes was created around six years ago – and has gone from strength to strength ever since. Given the slightly naughty name as a nod to something a bit more indulgent, Mr and Mrs HP (and family) have been serving the most fabulous pancakes and panc-tails to a very appreciative and loyal customer base for all that time.

If you haven’t visited – you’re seriously missing out on all sorts of delicious treats including their totally unique Panc-tails – a grown up version of naughtiness with the addition of a boozy shot (we love Treasure Island – A scotch pancake with banana, homemade banana jam, brown sugar, mascarpone, banoffee pie ice cream, caramel sauce and squirty cream – served with a shot of dark spiced rum).

But that’s not all. Something pretty spicy occurred during lockdown. Mr and Mrs HP got straight on with organising a takeaway service of their much-loved pancakes and panc-tails menu, but they also created Mrs HP’s Spice Kitchen.

Now lockdown is (kinda) over – Hanky Panky Pancakes has remerged as even more than it was before – with their super-successful pancake and panc-tail haven by day, and a pretty awesome curry house by night.

Wednesday to Saturday evenings, its all about Mrs HP’s fabulous family recipes, and we were lucky enough to enjoy the experience last week.

First of all, Stephen and Rekhe are fabulous hosts. Incredibly kind and accommodating, they offer a genuinely welcoming experience and add to that the most delicious Indian food, and you could be dining with them in their home.

We were keen to enjoy whatever they wanted to serve us (they are the experts after all), and we were not at all disappointed with their choices. The Lamb Achari was sublime – I absolutely love lamb curry and this was one of the best I can ever remember having, and Phil devoured Grandma Lourdes’ Green Fish Curry which was also fantastic. These curries are so good because they are 100% authentic – and made with a serious amount of love.

But for me, enjoying a great curry is as much about the condiments as the main event – and this is where it got really exciting! The home made chutneys and pickles are off the chart, all made by Mr and Mrs HP’s own fair hands. We were treated to Mr HP’s mango chutney, Mr HP’s elderflower and chilli jam, Mrs HP’s lemon pickle and an amazing rhubarb pickle, but I’m not sure who takes the credit for that little masterpiece. We also had a bit more on the side – Uncle Natraj’s Chana Masala and a couple of spot-on chapatis. And a gorgeous bottle of red to perfectly accompany one fabulous and unique dining experience.

And they even treated us to a Treasure Island and a fabulous cup of coffee – but their incredible coffee is another story altogether, and that will be coming your way very soon …

How could it get any better? The best pancakes in town by day, and the most fabulous, intimate curry house with the very best hosts in the evening. And if you fancy a night in, then I would strongly recommend their delivery option; 2 pork vindalho curries, rice, nilgiri salad, with masala potatoes, hedgerow dhal and homemade accompaniments on the side. Served with a bottle of Egot merlot (which we were served on the night and absolutely loved) for £30. Perfect!

Thank you so much Stephen and Rekhe – Chester is a much better place with you guys here, doing what you do so well.

Much love.

Izzy and Phil x

More Hanky Panky at home;
Pancakes & Curries available for delivery
Free delivery on orders over £10
Delivery radius – 3 miles of CH1 2BJ

 

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