A dish from Horn OK Please that's as pleasurable to eat as its name is to say
We’ll be honest with you: we’ve been tempted by Horn OK Please before, its warm, lingering scent of spice and sizzling chickpeas wafting out across the Market and the sight of flipping dosas drawing in lunch-timers of all walks of life, including us. But this time, having spent the last year devoted to founders Gaurav and Sandhya’s moong dhal dosa, we’re branching out.
It was time for the aloo tikki chaat: a blend of lightly spiced potato patties layered with chickpeas and homemade chutneys, which proved even more fun to order than our previous choice. “Aloo tikki chaat” we said, our tongue relishing the unfamiliar syllables. Of course, this pleasure was but a preview of what our mouths were soon to experience.
Toasted, fluffy, unusually zesty potato patties blended with lime juice, onions, turmeric, and coriander perch atop chickpeas steeped in spices, crowned with a scattering of pomegranate and sev—“noodles made with chickpea flour,” Sandhya says of the rice-like, golden filaments, “so it’s gluten free, like everything else we do.”
It’s coeliac heaven, but even non-coeliacs will enjoy the additional crunch of these little noodles, which add yet another dimension to a bewilderingly multi-dimensional dish.
Each dish at Horn OK Please has been adapted slightly to suit London tastes by Sandhya and Guarav, who hail from south and west India respectively. “There are lots of spices involved—cumin, turmeric and so on—but no single spice is going to stand out.”
What aloo tikka chaat lacks in heat, it has in texture: from the piquant tamarind and date chutney, to the cool yoghurt, to the pillowy patties packed tight with texture. “We set up our stall to bring Indian street food to London and alter the perception of it here as confined to curry”—needless to say, in Horn OK Please, it’s just what they’ve achieved.