Patri was established in November 2018 by Puneet Wadwhani, who previously ran an Indian food distribution business. There are actually two Patri sites, one in Hammersmith that was originally under a different name but is now rebranded as Patri, and the flagship restaurant in Northfields. The head chef here is Vijendra Rana, who is from a state in northern India called Uttarakhand and trained in hotels in Mumbai, Delhi and Dubai before moving to the UK. Prior to Patri he worked for seven years at Khushi, the oldest Indian restaurant in Edinburgh, which has been trading since 1947. “Patri” means railway track, and the menu is styled as a culinary train journey from Delhi to Jodphur. The dishes offered included several chaat options as well as staples like murgh makani, in addition to some more exotic ones. Starters were pried around £7, mains mostly around £15.
The wine list has 27 references, ranging in price from £16 to £155, with a median price of just £25. No vintages were given except for a Dom Perignon 2009. Sample labels included the Chilean Sierre Grande Merlot at £21 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £7, Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc at £36 compared to its retail price of £16, and Veuve Cliqot NV champagne at £48 for a wine that will set you back £43 in a shop. The pricing was very fair, with an average mark-up to retail price of only 2.4 times, much less than is typical in London these days. Although most of the wines were quite modest ones, the few classier ones were bargains, for example Ruinart champagne was on sale for just £55 here whereas in a shop it will currently cost you £67.
Mini popadoms were fried and very crisp, served with mango chutney, mint chutney and a slightly limp looking herb salad. Tikki chaat was prettily presented, with a pair of warm potato patties served on a bed of tender chickpeas, enlivened by onions, tomatoes, vinegar, tamarind and mint chutney and pomegranate seeds. This was a nicely balanced dish, with a good set of complementary textures and flavours (14/20). Bhel poori comprised curried puffed rice, little discs of popadoms, Indian noodles and sev, mixed with onions, diced potatoes, white peas and a slightly spicy masala. Again this was well presented and enjoyable, though a little more chutney might not have gone amiss (13/20).
Banjara (“nomad”) chicken curry had slow cooked chicken that was tender and rested in a pleasant, slightly spicy sauce made with tomato paste and tamarind pulp, the spices having been ground by hand using a pestle and mortar (13/20). Pilau rice was fragrant and carefully cooked, the grains distinct (14/20). Garlic naan bread was good, freshly made and supple in texture, cooked in the gas-fired tandoor that was built on site here (13/20). Palak paneer was excellent, the cottage cheese soft in texture, the spinach having good flavour, a few shreds of ginger acting as a garnish that went well with the spinach (14/20). Black dhal, which was cooked overnight, had a pleasingly smoky flavour and very good texture, resulting in a dark and rich dish (easily 14/20). The only disappointing dish was a potato curry, Bedmi aloo, which has pieces of potato in a tomato masala garnished with coriander. The potatoes had become a little soggy and the sauce seemed rather oily (barely 11/20).
We tried two different flavours of kulfi ice cream, here served on sticks and presented inside glasses. Both pistachio kulfi and mango kulfi were excellent, having creamy texture and plenty of flavour (14/20). Service was very good, and the bill came to £35 per person. If you came here for dinner and shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical cost per person might be around £50. Overall, Patri is serving considerably better food than you might expect in its unglamorous location in a parade of shops in Northfield. The best dishes, such as the palak paneer and the black dhal, were genuinely good, and the attractive presentation of the chaat showed a kitchen that cares about detail.