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Patri – Street Food Inspired by India’s Railway Food – Northfields, Ealing:
Northfields in Ealing is a bit off my beaten track, but well worth the visit now that exciting new Indian restaurant Patri has opened its doors.
Patri – meaning ‘train track’, and ‘furnace’ – recreates food served on North India’s iconic rail network. First established during the British Raj, Indian Railways operate more than 7,000 trains every day, carrying thousands of passengers on both long distance and suburban railway tracks or ‘Patri’.
We met with the founder of Patri Indian Restaurant, Puneet Wadhwani who is also the founder and creative director of Chai Naasto, Hammersmith. Puneet’s menu presents snacks and dishes he enjoyed as a child, on the trains departing from his home-station of New Delhi, as well as Jodhpur’s grand Mawar Junction. In India, food is served at the side of the tracks and passed to travellers through the train windows, as well as on board the carriages themselves.
New Delhi is the Capital of India and also the place where the iconic dish butter chicken originated. Old Delhi, meanwhile, with its cuisine flavoured by Mughal influences, is where you’ll find tender kebabs, fragrant curries and all manner of chaat.
Jodhpur, the second largest city of Rajasthan, is home to Marwar Junction and the Rajputana style of cooking, which focuses on gamey meats made with spicy marinades, and elegant royal sweets. Here 75% of the population is vegetarian, hence also some of the finest veggie fare.
For his new venture, Puneet offers an exciting selection of artesian street food and classic curries, with which he is keen to evoke authentic flavours and aromas.
“Each bite should take you back to India”.
A colourful exterior invites you into the darkly lit restaurant, funky urban-meets-rustic, with long wooden tables with bench seating. Salvaged corrugated iron hangs upon brick walls adorned with metal signs, whilst copper and tin accessories and glistening coloured glasses and bottles decorate the well-stocked bar.
We kicked off the evening at Patri with crisp poppadum and hot mint chutney, accompanied by a glass of Jealous Sisters Pinot Gris, from Wairarapa, New Zealand – a perfectly chilled white wine with notes of nectarine and spice, robust enough to match my aromatic meal.
My friend was driving and opted for a non-alcoholic G&T – a rather excellent, healthy alternative to alcohol – The Duchess Botanical is blended with aromatic layers of botanicals infused with orange peel, cardamom, allspice, cloves, star anise, cloves and cardamom.
There followed an absolute feast, and we ate like the Maharaja….
The veggie option of Platform Mix Grill was a delicious platter, glorious rich and spicy flavours with sweet pickings…. Aloo Samosas, Chaat Bombs, Kachori, Paneer Tikka, Haraba Bhara Kebab and Paan Patte Chaat combo
Firm favourites for us were old Delhi Pani Puri Bombs – hot and tangy crisp wheat balls filled with chickpeas and potato and the Champati Aloo Tikki Chat – stuffed potato patties on a bed of chickpeas, oozing with spicy flavours and delightful jewels of sweet pomegranate. We also loved the Achari Malai Paneer Tikka – a classic Indian cheese dish which was wonderfully smoky and tender, marinated in spices, mustard oil and chilli, then cooked in the clay tandoori oven.
The Railway Mix Grill is a meat eaters’ paradise, perfect for sharing and stacked high with half Tandoori chicken, lamb Seeka kebabs, Malai tikka and tikka paneer. The tandoori meats are marinated 3 times before being part cooked in the tandoor and finished off on the robata grill. Such delicious piquant flavours!
We also tucked into a selection of warm and spicy curries….
How could I not try the butter chicken? This signature dish from New Delhi was rich and creamy, cooked simply with just four spices – garam masala, turmeric, salt and fenugreek.
The Safed Machi Mass was subtle and fragrant, a luscious royal white curry made with tender monkfish cubes, slow cooked with whole masalas, almond cashew paste, fresh cream and yoghurt.
A bit of green to accompany all this went down a treat – succulent spinach and chickpeas with fenugreek and ginger.
Velvety black dhal had been slow-cooked, letting the smokiness seep through.
The Shahi Laal Maas lamb curry was a touch hot, rich and spicy.
All served with warm buttery naan bread and steamed fluffy rice….I could manage no more!
Well…apart from the pistachio and mango flavoured Kulfi lollies which rounded off our meal to perfection.
What struck me about Patri Indian Restaurant was the menu overflowing with simple, fresh food, full of spicy flavours and wonderful smoky tastes all redolent of India. A great Asian dining experience in West London, it’s definitely got me all the more excited about my forthcoming trip to India in February!
P.S. Make sure you visit the restroom.
Patri Indian Restaurant
139 Northfields Avenue,
Ealing, W13 9QT
For more information check the Patri Website