Patri (Indian) – Northfields, LondonHALAL STATUS Fully Halal food menu • Alcohol served OFFER FREE MOCKTAIL with every meal – Quote ‘Feed the Lion’ to a member of staff
Puneet Wadhwani is not just the founder of Patri in west London’s Northfields, but also the founder and creative director of independent street food restaurant, Chai Naasto, whose Hammersmith branch we reviewed back in 2017.
But things have changed since then, with Puneet having launched Patri in late 2018, before replacing Chai Naasto with a second Patri branch in Hammersmith earlier this year.
In a post-Brexit environment as volatile for restaurateurs as it is for anyone else (more so perhaps for Indian restaurant owners), that might sound risky to some, but not to Puneet.
Not only was Patri Hammersmith shortlisted as a finalist for ‘Restaurant of the Year’ and Patri Northfields ‘New Restaurant of the Year’ at this year’s London Curry Awards, but Patri Hammersmith eventually won ‘Street Food Restaurant of the Year’, while Puneet was voted ‘Curry Entrepreneur of the Year’.
Patri’s menu centers around the distinct culinary journeys of India’s historic railway stations.
The name Patri, which means ‘railway track’, essentially represents the theme that’s inspired the menu, which seeks at “bringing to life the snacks and dishes” enjoyed by Puneet as a child, both at New Delhi train station and those on board India’s great rail journeys.
More specifically, the menu revolves around the following “2 train journeys of India”: New Delhi Station and Calcutta Junction – the latter being a new menu update and replacement to the previous Marwar Junction.
It is important to note that while FtLion is one of the first to try said menu, it is scheduled to go live on Deliveroo this coming Wednesday 18th before being introduced across the two branches a week later on the 24th.
Of course, given the similarities, one question we did have going in, is whether Patri would also fall foul of Chai Naasto’s biggest shortcoming: the “toning down on the use of the many bold and vibrant spices that represent and epitomise Indian cooking”, which we suspected was “down to them catering for the local palate”.
Those not used to chaat masala – a mixture of spices that impart a tangy, zingy flavour – might find both the Masala Iced Karma Soda and the Nimbu Lemon Soda potent concoctions. At least that was certainly true for one Lion, who described them as “not for the timid”.
Nevertheless, while the latter was certainly fiercer than its Karma Soda counterpart, whose sweetness helped cut through the strength of the masala, what we did find, much to our pleasant surprise, is how these drinks helped neutralise the intense heat of some of the curries had below.
As for the Summer Plantation, then this layered citrusy affair had a tangy edge to it, thanks to the grenadine; but wasn’t anything outstanding.
The Karma Cola was an interesting one though. Milder than coke, and certainly less harsh, this was sweeter and quite nice too.
STREET FOODCALCUTTA JUNCTION
So this “Boyfriend” Chaat – Patri’s version of the signature batata puri – is the replacement to the “Girlfriend” Chaat from the old Marwa Junction menu.
Simple in make-up, with a soft, loosely-textured and mildly spiced potato and onion mixture, which was placed atop a delicately light and crumbly biscuit base before being covered with a sprinkle of vermicelli and some sweet-cum-tangy tamarind sauce.CALCUTTA JUNCTION
And this Ghugni Chaat is one of those ferociously hot dishes we alluded to above, which’ll definitely need the neutralising factor of said masala sodas.
Despite one Lion having to reach for a hankie to wipe is sweating brow, the other two enjoyed this for what it was – soft chick peas with diced red onions, cucumbers and tomatoes, all mixed together in a dry masala, which you’ll be feeling at the back of the throat sans any harshness. Our hint: a good squeeze of the wedge of lime will help cut through the heat, though barely.
In short, if this doesn’t have your taste buds primed and ready for the main courses, nothing will!CALCUTTA JUNCTION
An Indo-Chinese dish made true by the heat of the wok, which worked to infuse the entire dish with a smoky scent that was wonderfully countered by the deep, rich, chilli sauce coating these soft and spongy cubes of tender paneer.
Add to that the textural contrast of the chunky pieces of green pepper, red onions and slices of spring onion, and this was a truly satisfying Rasuna Mirchi Paneer, which, we think, would have paired better with sticky white rice.
Appreciated more by one Lion than the other two, this large glass of Bengali Jhal Muri comprised of two elements – a combination of crispy light papdi discs, chick peas and finely diced potatoes, all covered to the brim with puffed rice mixed in with diced red onions, cucumbers and green chillies, and topped with dry vermicelli and pomegranates.
While the sauce, in which all this was mixed, had a subtle mustard-like taste to it, it wasn’t as thoroughly mixed through as it could have been, culminating in the puffed rice towards the top remaining somewhat dry, with an almost stale texture to them.
With the texture of this Jhal Muri being palpably more wet heading down towards the bottom of the glass, be sure to give this a quick mix to also help balance out the notes of sweet and sourness therein.
A clever medley which was perhaps a turn or two of the spoon away from winning over the other two Lions.CALCUTTA JUNCTION RECOMMENDED
Another tremendous Indo-Chinese dish to add to the many we’ve already had this year (including those at Fatt Pundit).
These large and satisfyingly chewy Bappa Hakka chilli chicken wings were incredibly good, thanks to a sticky and smoky marinade.
But what we really enjoyed was the way in which the sharpness of the accompanying vinegary dip, full of diced green chillis, managed to add another flavour profile while helping to neutralise some of that chilli heat.
CALCUTTA JUNCTION RECOMMENDED
Literally meaning ‘fried goodness’ telebhaja is a Bengali snack sold at almost every street corner of the city.
A tremendous blend of flavours and textures is what defined this Telebhaja Kale Chaat.
Granted it may not look all that pretty, but who cares when you have crunchy, light kale pakoras resting on a bed of soft and sweet potato fries, and smothered in plenty of yoghurt, some tamarind sauce, red onions and pomegranates, which all combined to ensure that no single mouthful was ever going to be the same.
Despite one Lion considering this Radhuni Chicken to be slightly on the salty side, the others found the robust flavours of the curry enveloping the tender chicken to be quite delicious, especially the way in which the piquancy of its tomato base was expertly masked by the sauce’s sweet-smokey edge.
In short, if you’re after a curry dish that’s rough and ready, then this is the one to consider.CALCUTTA JUNCTION
We were told that the mutton in this Mangsher Jhol was marinated for 7-8 hours, before being slow cooked for between 5-7 hours. If that’s not commitment to a cause, in this case Patri’s attempt at serving authentic curries, we don’t know what is!
In any case, the meat here, while being slightly tougher than we’d have ideally preferred, was seared enough to lend a smoky undertone to an otherwise deliciously rich curry, which had good body and a lovely spicy-tangy edge.CALCUTTA JUNCTION RECOMMENDED
What an absolutely tremendous fish curry this was, with the delicate portions of fish swimming in a mildly spiced and mellow sweet, smooth and creamy curry, with an earthy undertone.
A Nizami Safed Maas which held our attention right till the last spoonful; and a dish that requires a fresh naan to really enjoy.NEW DELHI STATION
The balance of masalas achieved in this Pantry Chicken Curry was quite something. Not only did they successfully counter the sourness of the tomatoes used therein, but also complemented the tender chunks of chicken.
The curry itself was silky smooth, with a glorious sheen, and enough heat to enjoy this for its aroma and simplicity of taste.NEW DELHI STATION RECOMMENDED
When you have Murgh Makhani, or butter chicken, this darn good, why wouldn’t you designate it the Chef’s Signature?
A luxuriously rich, creamy and buttery curry which had everything you would expect from such a classic dish. The heat of the chilli was perfectly judged, allowing for the curry’s signature sweetness to come through in tantalising waves, with the depth of smokiness from the chicken strong, heady and beautifully balanced.
Grab yourselves at least two tandoor naans and enjoy arguably one of the best Murgh Makhanis this side of west London. A triumph!
If this Aloo Posto proves anything, it’s that you don’t need to throw the kitchen sink and spice rack at an Indian dish to make it enjoyable. Essentially, this dish is a lesson in trusting in the produce and allowing the flavours to stand on their own, with a minimal use of spices.
Patri’s chef knows precisely what to use when and, more importantly, how much. In this case, the dry masala rub of mustard and poppy seeds, along with fenugreek, will have you wanting more of these gently spiced potatoes.CALCUTTA JUNCTION RECOMMENDED
While this attractively presented Koraishuti Makhani was smoother in consistency than the Murgh Makhani had above, though no less vibrant in colour, this was a lightly spiced tomato-tasting curry, that was enhanced by the earthy freshness of a quartet of soft textured, dark croquettes, which were perfectly seasoned, and partnered with cashew nuts.
An addictively good dish that’s innovative in nature and as good as you’re going to get.
CHEF'S ROTATING SPECIALSRECOMMENDED
There’s biryani, and then there’s biryanis, but above the many we’ve reviewed over the years, there’s Patri’s Thumka Biryani!
The fragrance of the aroma emanating therefrom was on another level! But it was the clever impartment of smokiness, no doubt achieved by the “jerk” style of cooking (according to the menu ‘Thumka’ actually means jerk, with this biryani being made “fast and furious… at high flame”), which really caught our attention.
And perhaps it’s this rapid cooking process that accounts for the fantastic spices coming through so perceptibly and harmoniously, which included the warmth of the garam masala.
Hence, while this biryani had an intriguing gentle sweet aftertaste, which included the crispy fried onions sprinkled on top, it was the moistness of the flavoured rice alongside the tender segments of chicken, which made this the total package of biryanis. It, thus, goes without saying: RECOMMENDED!
A well made Tandoor Roti, which was thin, crispy and buttered in places to offer some contrast.
Again, a really well made Butter Naan, which had the crispiness and crunchiness all in equal measure.
The same was true of this bowl of rice. Hardly surprising though.
Although this did have a spicy freshness to it, it also had a slight reheated-ness to it too.
- YES/ NO
- DISABLED FACILITIES
- CHILD SEATING
More impressively, it's the balance achieved by Patri's seasoned head chef, Vijendra Rana, who's mainly plied his trade in Dubai, that makes the curry dishes here truly stand out from so many others we've had in this crowded, monotonous market. Each one has its own distinct tone and flavour, making them not only memorable in their own right, but also extremely difficult for us to choose one particular dish for our Menu Recommendation below.
Suffice it to say, that Patri could arguably be the best Indian restaurant in west London we've reviewed thus far, and one that's certainly worthy of the awards its won this year.
To be honest, we can't see how some of these dishes won't also be in the running for our coveted end of year awards!
N.B. - The new Calcutta Junction menu will be going live on Deliveroo this Wednesday 18th before being introduced in their Northfields and Hammersmith branches a week later on the 24th.
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