Indian food with a difference in West London
Northfields is rarely considered to be a leading gastronomy spot, but the arrival of Patri last year has certainly sparked things up a bit on this suburban West London high street.
I was recently invited to go and try it out and took my kids and parents. My father and 8-year-old son, in particular, are huge fans of Indian food. My son and daughter (now 10) have both been vegetarian since the ages of 5 and 7 respectively and often Indian restaurants are an easier choice for vegetarians.
Why is Patri different from other Indian restaurants in Ealing?
Patri is no ordinary Indian restaurant. It was created to recall the flavours and scents of the culinary dished served at India’s classical train stations and on board its legendary voyages. Patri founder, Puneet Wadhwani has really come up with something unique for West London foodies. From snacks, such as ‘girlfriend chaat’ cooked on the platform and handed to passengers through the window of passing trains, to meals such as rara gosht made on board, Puneet has conjured a sizzling selection of delicious nostalgic dishes.
It is a cosy restaurant – and that’s not just a euphemism for small, it feels like it should be exactly that way. With its ode to meals eaten on board the rail carriages of India, a large open plan restaurant would not sit right at all. The décor has real attention to detail and gives a fabulously authentic feel. I certainly felt transported from this unassuming West London suburban high street. The kids loved it and the waiters were very attentive to them. I love that living in West London exposes my kids to cultural cuisines to such an amazing extent and they are really adventurous on the whole, enjoying dishes from around the world on a regular basis.
Indian street food
We went for a selection of street food snacks to share to experience a range of different flavours. My son chose the Chatpati Aloo Tikki Chaat from the Vegan street food menu. It was a huge portion and an absolutely delicious potato patty mix of chickpeas, pomegranate, lemon, onions and tomato, topped with tamarind and mint chutney. It is definitely the tastiest Indian dish I had never tasted before! This was the first thing I tried and on the strength of this dish alone, I knew this would be the first of many visits to this restaurant for me! We immediately regretted not ordering two portions of this dish as it was soon swept up between the six of us and got a resounding thumbs up from all.
We also tried the Punjabi Samosa Chaat – which is filled with cumin, coriander, peas and potato drizzle with spicy mint, tamarind, mango chutney on a bed of spicy chickpeas, kachumber, coriander and – yes again – and I’m loving this addition to Indian food – pomegranate. Another popular dish with my family, though the Chatpati Aloo Tikki Chaat slightly pipped it, just from being so different from anything else we had tried before.
The structure of the Patri menu differs from most
restaurants in that it isn’t ordered in the expected starter/ main/ dessert way
but instead the food options are split into different categories: Vegan Street
Food, Signature Chaat Bhandar, Kebabs, Old Delhi Meat Classics and Mom’s
Signature Vegetarian Selection and Extras (naans, rotis and rice). Then there
is the Railway Mix (designed to share) – a half tandoori chicken, lamb seekh
kebab, Malai Tikkas and Paneer Tikka) plus the Chef’s Signature Special Thali
of the Day which my father opted for. A quick mention too for the fab
non-alcoholic cocktails – I love a Virgin Colada – alcoholic versions also
My mum and I (a bit full after sampling the scrumptious street food) shared a Pantry Chicken Curry (consisting of onions, tomatoes and simmered with yoghurt, masalas and coriander). I felt slightly unadventurous opting for this with such an exotic range of choices, but I had used all my decision-making energy on street food! My top tip would be to definitely download the menu from the website before you visit Patri and really have a good read of it as it took us adults absolutely ages to make our minds up and the hungry children got most exasperated with us!
What the West London Kids thought!
The children only get two choices on their menu – and both options were chicken so not suitable for my vegetarian children. It would be good to see some more choices for kids on there, particularly vegetarian options as I’m sure I don’t have the only vegetarian kids in West London! You can actually ask for a vegetarian or fish alternative to the kids menu but this is highlighted separately in a banner and we only saw the two chicken options. It didn’t matter though because – for once in their lives – they agreed on a main dish to share. They very happily tucked into their Daal Makhani – a slow-cooked lentil dish in a tomato and butter sauce. They shared some of our rice and we ended up ordering a second butter naan – genuinely the best butter naan I’ve tried in my life and a huge thumbs up from both children.
Just a bit about the service before I finish. It takes a little getting used to. It is very friendly, and I loved the way the waiters knew so much about the dishes and gave us the background stories of the more unusual menu items, expanding on the already well-detailed menu descriptions. It did seem a little chaotic at time with numerous different waiters serving us – but I later realised this is deliberate. A small banner on the menu tells you that it is Service on Demand to replicate the waiting style of the railways. You are meant to press the “dingly bells” (have to say we didn’t notice these so I will look out for them next time!) to hail a waiter or you can just wave your hand to attract a server’s attention (like we did, being far too unobservant to notice any bells!) – the menu does say you should shout “Bhaiya Service Please” but I didn’t actually notice anyone do that – something else to look out for next time. Because there definitely will be a next time – I am looking forward to going back with my husband (who was away in Berlin when we went out for this meal). I know he will be a big fan and that this is likely to become a regular dining spot for us as a family!
The Essential Info
Website: https://patri.co.uk/Address: Patri,
Northfields Avenue W13 9QT. There are also branches in Hammersmith and one will
be opening soon in Ealing Broadway so West London is being spoilt!
Tel: 0203 981 3388