WHAT- Plant based filthy fast food.
WHERE- Central Colchester plus the usual delivery services
HOW MUCH- £10-15 a head with drinks and dessert
OVERALL- I’m moving out of this postcode before they bankrupt me.
In the rare moments over the past few months I’ve been at my actual office in an actual town centre, I tend to wander past Hank’s Dirty at some point and until recently always glanced up at them, went huh, maybe next time, and then carried on. Come the first round of dread Christmas shopping with the Mr we ended up calling in here for some much needed morale boost.
Since then, I have had roughly eight billion meals from Hank’s and need to check in for some pickle dust detox therapy before I re-mortgage my house to cover the deliveroo fees.
Oh. My. Goodness.
You’ll find Hanks on Culver St West in central Colchester, offering a fully vegan menu with a seated area upstairs and full take out services, plus Deliveroo and Just Eat.
It ain’t a restaurant.
It is also not a horrible plastic chain trap with endless upselling and creepy clowns. Although the seating area upstairs is rustic/basic there’s quirky decor (hello dinosaur fans!!!) and comfortable seating with more than adequate atmosphere to get you through the
thirty eight seconds fifteen minutes it takes you to stuff in a burger and nick half of your partner’s chips. It’s all in the name really, Hank’s Dirty is gonna dish you up filthy food. Think kebabs. Think crispy nuggets and sticky ribs, stacked burgers oozing with cheeze. Think loaded trays of fries swimming in burger sauce and shwarma chunks and that all important pickle dust finish. Round it off with a brownie or a biscoff donut and wash it down with a plant milk latte or all manner of posh fizzy drinks and kombucha cans. Ooof.
It’s good stuff, and on the lighter side there’s salads and wraps and breakfast muffins and all of it, every single thing on the entire menu, is vegan. It’s also very low plastic so you can kid yourself that you’re offsetting all the calories by saving the planet. This, my friends, is the ultimate Win-Win dinner situation.
OK so I’ve not eaten out much recently and I might be overly enamoured of Hank’s due to the endorphin rush associated with deep fried carbohydrates. Yes, it is essentially a fast food joint but the grub being dished out is some of the best you will get in Colchester within this niche. It’s unashamed, instantly gratifying comfort fare. Crispy fried bits, savoury burger chunks, sharp and sweet pickles and rich creamy sauces, most likely stuffed into a bun or poured over a batch of chips. Hank’s serve you the kind of food that makes you wish you had a hangover to appreciate it just that little bit more. *
Plant based meals can raise a lot of groans, particularly during the dread Veganuary, but dropping some meat doesn’t have to be self righteous or even self flagellating. Nor does it have to be limp kale chips and quinoa sludge salads. Although they fly the flag for filthy, Hank’s Dirty can also dish you up a stacked and enticing salad or buddha bowl if you’re that way inclined. It’s hearty, satisfying food and yes, anyone can eat it. You don’t have to be vegan to have a really good dinner here (I’m not, nor is the Mr, and we choose to eat here far too often). It’s so much better than a sodding Big Mac, I promise you, and their loaded fries beat the living daylights out of anything you’d pay six quid for from five gentlemen and their overpriced rot chips.
Personally, I recommend all of it. The whole damn menu. But specifically, the Mac Big fries are to die for- a tray of chips topped with burger sauce, patty chunks, gherkins, cheese and that all important sweet and salty pickle dust. Literally drooling as I type. You can also have a standard order of fries blessed with this magical pixie dust or, almost as wonderful, with their bacon dust which is basically Frazzle mix. Amazing. Shout out too to the currywurst hot dog and various jackfruit and bean burgers for those who don’t go for the fake meat fixes.
You get the idea so I’m going to stop now. Once I’ve told you they also have several outlets in Felixtowe and Ipswich and a WHOLE ENTIRE PUB!!!!! The mind boggles. The mouth waters. Check em out.
*A Hank’s fix will also completely sort out your hangover. So I’m told.