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I must admit that when I hear the words Horn Please, food is not quite the first thing that springs to mind (in fact, I half expect to see Maceo Parker tooting away, but that’s just me!). So when I was invited along to a special tasting evening at the newest venture from the team at Cubatas, I had no idea what to expect.
It turns out that Horn Please is what happens when Indian-influenced flavours and Mediterranean dining styles come together – it’s tapas, Jim…but not as we know it.
On the night of the event, the menu was still being firmed up (particularly the vegetarian options) and the restaurant was looking for some feedback. So, instead of providing you guys with a full meal review, I am going to give you an idea of the things Horn Please has in mind and what I enjoyed on the night. I’m also going to share some of the vegetarian options that have now been confirmed for the menu (following my visit).
But before I talk about the food, let’s clear up the whole name thing! What does Horn Please actually mean? This was explained on the night as a phrase that is commonly seen on vehicles in India; either as a sticker or painted on. It is quite literally asking drivers to honk their horns!
And it doesn’t stop at the name – the restaurant’s decor is also very much influenced by trips to India, with bright pops of paint and a mixture of textures throughout. I really loved how bright and airy the space was, I felt super relaxed.
The Mediterranean influence comes into the mix when the dishes are brought out – designed to be small plates made for sharing. We started with some tamarind, mango and tomato chutneys that were served with mini poppadoms and spiced nuts. These were very moreish yet light enough to have if you weren’t in the mood to eat too much. I found the nuts a little too spicy for my taste – but then, I am a total wimp so I’m sure most people would just call them flavoursome!
We also tried the paneer & spinach pastry which was served with a butternut squash puree – I loved this dish and especially enjoyed the puree, which had a lovely texture and tasted slightly sweet.
The winner though? Brace yourselves, friends! Toastie pakora. Yeah, you read that right! I couldn’t believe when these were brought out and I was VERY excited to try them. A full-sized grilled cheese sandwich coated in pakora-style batter isn’t something I knew I needed in my life, but I am so glad that someone else came up with it! These were filled with cheese, spinach and tomato and tasted heavenly.
If I ever want to fit into my clothes again these bad boys will be a once-in-a-while treat!
The toastie pakora is actually a very good representation of what Horn Please are trying to achieve overall – a modern take on Indian-inspired food with a lot of thinking outside of the box.
Just in time for the restaurant’s opening on Thursday this week (that’s tomorrow!), the menu has now been agreed and by the looks of things there are lots of great meat-free options. In the designated vegetarian main meals section there are seven options, as well as a range of starters to suit different diets. I like the sound of the lentil & rice croquettes, and the paneer, carrot and pepper salad. Maybe I’ll need to go back soon and try them (purely in the name of research, you understand…).
You can find Horn Please on Berkeley Street, and find out more by checking out their Facebook page.
Will you be paying Horn Please a visit? And what are your thoughts on toastie pakora?