Patri: Home run

Passion and execution are two things that diners expect when eating out. Both were in spades at Patri, a small Indian restaurant located on a Hammersmith side street (a second branch can be found in Ealing). Similar to the approach pursued by better-known Indian establishments such as Dishoom and Darjeeling Express, Puneet and his team at Patri are seeking to bring their home-based experiences of Indian cooking to the broader world. The menu takes in influences from New Delhi to Rajasthan, almost everything is prepared to order, and the spices are shipped in fresh from India on a once-weekly basis. Not only has thought gone into the menu, but also the décor of the venue, with clear acknowledgments to Bollywood and cricket culture evident throughout. On the midweek night with poor weather when my comrade and I visited, Patri was at least half full, an encouraging sign that those in the know are prepared to make the trip. While pondering our menu choices, we shared a plate of ‘puri bombs,’ a welcome addition to any Indian night out (and something I first sampled at Darjeeling Express last year). In brief, diners pop into their mouth in one bite a crisp wheat ball packed with chick peas and topped with spices and mint water. The effect is tangy yet refreshing. While the menu is divided into ‘street food,’ ‘classic,’ ‘signature,’ and ‘pairing’ sections, diners can experience a broad swathe of Patri’s options in choosing – as we did – their mixed grill followed by the (daily changing) thali platter. Between two people, this was more than ample. We loved throughout the intensity of flavour and the liberal (but not excessive) use of spice throughout. The chefs at Patri are not afraid of using butter in their cooking, and this means that the dishes are richly comforting – just like you might expect in your own home. Stand-out perhaps for us was the daal makhani (slow-cooked black lentils stirred for 8 hours in a butter and tomato sauce) although both the lamb and chicken offerings on the thali platter were close contenders. Thought is also given to the drinks list – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic – with a number of sensible pairings suggested. Pricing is fair throughout. Could Patri be the next Dishoom or Darjeeling Express? Potentially.