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Review: Hank’s Dirty - ‘The perfect hangover food’

PUBLISHED: 08:56 14 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:17 14 August 2020

Dirty Fries are one of the fast vegan foods from Hank's Dirty Picture: HANK'S DELI & SHOP

Dirty Fries are one of the fast vegan foods from Hank's Dirty Picture: HANK'S DELI & SHOP

Hank's Deli & Shop

Nicola Warren tries out the town’s newest vegan restaurant and takeaway where ‘wings’, ‘kebabs’ and more are on the menu.

The ultimate vegan burger is part of the Hank's Dirty menu Picture: HANK'S DELI & SHOPThe ultimate vegan burger is part of the Hank's Dirty menu Picture: HANK'S DELI & SHOP

On the day the Eat Out to Help Out scheme launched, we thought we’d head to town on our lunchbreak and try out Hank’s Dirty.

The burger bar, on Lloyds Avenue in Ipswich, opened earlier this year, after Hank’s Deli moved to bigger premises on Carr Street.

One thing you should know about Hank’s - Dirty, Deli and Pub – is that all of them are vegan.

Which is music to my ears, quite frankly. I don’t eat meat, and not a lot of dairy, and to be able to go out to eat somewhere where I can choose anything off the menu is refreshing.

Mixed doner kebab at Hank's Dirty Picture: Philip WarrenMixed doner kebab at Hank's Dirty Picture: Philip Warren

My husband is a meat-eater but quite often eats vegetarian alternatives to meat and is always keen to try something new, so Hank’s Dirty had been on our list of places to try since it opened.

The place was fairly quiet when we arrived – although we were there just after midday – but someone was already ordering a takeaway lunch.

We sanitised our hands by the front door after entering then stayed two metres back from the customer at the till.

The place looks quite different since I’d last been, when it was still Hank’s Deli. There are four banks of tables and chairs towards the front of the diner – although two are closed off to allow for social distancing – and the counter is at the back. Seating is also available outside. Anyone who has ordered takeaway is asked to wait outside with orders brought to them.

Caesar fries at Hank's Dirty Picture: Philip WarrenCaesar fries at Hank's Dirty Picture: Philip Warren

We took a look at the drinks first – there’s everything from slushies and dairy-free milkshakes to fizzy and alcoholic drinks.

We both fancied a Fentimans soft drink – cherry cola for me and cola for Phil.

Next, we looked at the sides and hot dogs (one of the screens wasn’t working so we couldn’t see the other part of the menu).

There was a jumbo American hot dog, a gluten-free currywurst and chips, dirty fries and even Caesar fries.

Biscoff cheesecake at Hank's Dirty Picture: Philip WarrenBiscoff cheesecake at Hank's Dirty Picture: Philip Warren

The server on the till was really friendly and helpful and apologised for the problem with the screen, telling us about all of the other items on the menu.

These included a chicken basket, doner kebab and sticky BBQ ribs.

As she’d explained the seitan fillet for the burger was made at Hank’s, that’s what I went for, with some Caesar fries and onion rings.

Phil ordered the mixed meat doner, dirty fries and coleslaw.

Smores brownie made by BMC Cakery at Hank's Dirty Picture: Philip WarrenSmores brownie made by BMC Cakery at Hank's Dirty Picture: Philip Warren

READ MORE: If you’re not confident enough to eat out yet, see what our reviewer thought of the takeaway/delivered picnic box from Patricia Sharman & Co

While we were at the till, we also chose our desserts – a BMC Cakery lucky dip brownie for me, and a Biscoff cheesecake for Phil.

When the food came, we realised we’d underestimated the portion sizes, particularly the fries – they were a meal in themselves!

I’ve always thought cheese would be one of the reasons I couldn’t be vegan, but the dairy-free alternative to Parmesan on my Caesar fries was delicious, as was the tangy Caesar sauce. The crispy vegan bacon was so smoky and tasty that Phil kept asking to try another bit as he just couldn’t taste any difference to real bacon.

The fillet in my burger had a chicken-like texture and a nice crispy coating, the pepperjack cheese and chipotle mayo gave it a nice mild kick and it was all held together with some iceberg lettuce and tomato in a soft brioche bun.

It was exactly the sort of food you’d crave when you have a hangover.

Out of habit, I hesitated having a taste of Phil’s lunch as in the back of my mind I was thinking it had meat in it.

But no, his sourdough wrap was loaded with tasty, seasoned doner seitan, chips, salad, tzatziki and chilli sauce.

In hindsight, we probably should have swapped fries, as his were topped with more seitan doner meat and chilli sauce, as well as cheese, with tzatziki and pickled red cabbage cutting through the richness of the other flavours.

We enjoyed the onion rings and Phil liked the coleslaw, but I found there was too much of the sweet, mayo-like sauce.

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As we ate lunch, I thought it was really nice to support Hank’s after everything the business has offered to the local community during lockdown, from delivering fruit and vegetable boxes from Hank’s Deli to burgers from Hank’s Dirty.

Another local business getting food out to people during lockdown was BMC Cakery, so I was pleased to see they supplied some of the desserts.

I’m afraid we had to take our desserts home to enjoy with a cup of tea later on in the day - we just couldn’t fit anything else in!

The BMC Cakery lucky dip brownie was a smores one – topped with a chocolate chip cookie and mini marshmallows. Brownies are my favourite dessert and this one did not disappoint – crisp on top and rich and gooey underneath. Heaven!

And the smell of Phil’s Biscoff cheesecake! This had a good base to topping ratio. The topping he found nice and light compared to a traditional cheesecake. As well as the lovely caramelised biscuit base, the dessert had Lotus biscuits crumbled on top. Yum. Yes I had to try a bit, obviously.

We’re definitely going back, Phil’s already decided on the ultimate burger just so he can have some more of that vegan bacon. I’m not sure whether I’ll try the ribs or chicken, but we’ll definitely share the fries next time. And sample some more desserts. There were some tempting looking Biscoff brownie bombs on the counter for a start...

Drinks

There are plenty of drinks to choose from, including raspberry and strawberry slushies, Fentimans soft drinks, chocolate and mocha Mylk dairy-free milkshakes and canned spring water, as well as wine, beer and cider. There’s also a water tap by the seating area where you can refill your reusable bottle.

Setting

Hank’s Dirty is in central Ipswich, on Lloyds Avenue. The premises has had a makeover since Hank’s Deli relocated, and now feels like a diner. Behind the counter, there is a hatch to the kitchen so you can hear that everything is being freshly made.

Service

Really friendly and welcoming. The lady serving us was very apologetic about one of the screens not working. When she read out each of the items, she knew everything that came with every one and made them sound very tempting.

Parking

There are several car parks a short walk away from the Lloyds Avenue eatery, including the Ipswich Borough Council-run Crown Car Park and the NCP car park behind Marks and Spencer.

Price

Our meal – feast, actually – cost just £22 after the Eat Out to Help Out discount was taken off the bill. A bargain for fresh, locally made fast food.

Highlight

We’d both say the Caesar fries, delicious and unlike anything I’ve eaten before. Phil is already planning his return visit just for the vegan bacon alone!

Summary

A great place to visit while Eat Out to Help Out is running – and beyond. While you can get a discount of up to £10 a head when you eat in under the scheme, there are also some great deals to be had if you’re taking away. For example, you can get a quarter pounder with cheese and chips for £4 with a drink purchase to takeaway every day until 4.30pm. Hank’s Dirty also offers children’s meals, so a great place to visit over the summer holidays. Or sample the menu at home - they’re still delivering.

Our reviews are conducted without a restaurant’s prior knowledge and are an independent account of our visit.


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