The Hampshire is a King Street pub in a 19th century building that has been a tavern of one kind or another since the 17th century, originally called “The Hogs” after a nickname for the members of the Royal Hampshire Regiment. In July 2020 it was rebranded from “The Hampshire Hog” to simply “The Hampshire”, a gastropub serving modern Indian food. There is a bar area as you enter with the main dining room further back, and a pub garden with a separate bar at the rear of the building. The head chef is Barneet Singh, who had lengthy stints at both Bombay Palace and Indian Zing prior to this.
After some popadoms and pickles we tried a few snacks and starters, which arrived together. Spinach and onion bhajia was decent enough, reasonably crisp and tasting of its components, though not a patch on the similar dish at Black Salt (12/20). A Punjabi samosa was filled with assorted vegetables including potatoes and peas and was also pleasant, though a bit more spice would not have gone amiss, which was odd as in general the spicing tonight was quite bold (12/20). Tandoori lamb chops arrived as a rather large portion of four chops, though I have to say that there were a little dry and cooked a bit too long. They were accompanied by some pleasant chutneys. I would rather have had one large, juicy and tender lamb chop than four somewhat dry ones (barely 11/20). Much better was a tandoori prawn, a large king prawn that was cooked precisely and had lovely spicing. This was a revelation, showing some real skill in the kitchen (15/20).
Dhaba palaak paneer was a spinach curry that had reasonable spinach flavour and pleasant spicing (12/20). Chickpea curry had tender chickpeas and fairly vibrant spices (13/20). I was less taken by jeera aloo, which for me could benefitted from a little more integrated cumin and potatoes cooked marginally longer (11/20). Chicken biryani, though, was very good, with aromatic rice and moist tender chicken thigh meat (14/20). Romali roti was also very good, being soft and pliable and served very hot (easily 13/20).
The bill came to £70 a head with plenty of beer and more food than a sane person could eat. Portions were very generous, but personally I would rather have had portions at half the size for half the price. Service was well meaning, though it was not always easy to get attention. I quite enjoyed my meal at The Hampshire, in particular the strikingly good tandoori prawn. The standard of dishes was a little erratic, but the best ones, such as the chicken biryani and the romali roti, were genuinely good.