As London swelters in the sunshine after weeks of thundering well past the June solstice with a prolonged period of rain, lightning, and hail, it’s perhaps apt that Hammersmith’s favourite Indian, Potli, has waited a while to launch a host of new summer dishes. After all, we may well be in for an Indian summer, and those recent Monsoon-style rains have certainly brought a rather subcontinental feel to British shores.
So what’s new, sunshine? Chef Jay Ghosh and GM Uttam Tripathy have shaken things up for summer, adding eight brand-new dishes to the existing extensive menu. Sample ‘shakharkhandi chaat’, an unusual cold nibble combining sweet potato and tangy pomegranate; try Indo-Chinese cuisine in the form of chilli paneer; and discover the dish romantically-named ‘drums of heaven’.
Lamb and mint is a classic British combo, so Potli’s pudina chops are guaranteed to go down a storm. There’s less familiar fare in the form of the pickle-like Goan Prawn balchao and Duck Amras Amrit. Vegetarians have not been forgotten; handily, they’re offered the restaurant’s signature one-pot Handi, alongside Rattan Manjusha kofta – nut-stuffed paneer dumplings fit for royalty.
Potli evokes its authentic Indian essence through the dishes of the country’s legendary neighbourhoods and bazaars. Surprising items direct from Calcutta’s Chowringhee Lane, Delhi’s Chadni Chowk and Mumbai’s Chowpatty Beach are faithfully re-created using top-quality ingredients and the spices Potli takes pride in roasting and grinding daily – around 37 individual spices and 9 bespoke blends.
‘Chatni’ means ‘to lick’ – and indeed, sampling the home-made relishes doled forth from Potli’s in-house ‘pickle bar’ might require you to resist licking the plate. These are not your standard curryhouse condiments; rather, a regularly-changing raft of recipes based on fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables or pulses, flavoured with unique masalas.
Moving on to the main menu, you’ll find all the curryhouse classics conspicuous only by their absence. Potli presents authentic Indian food, including regional specialities rarely seen outside their home states. Jay and Uttam are both devoted to digging out diverse and delicious dishes on regular research trips, keeping Potli’s menu as lively and fresh as the flavours.
The duo also put in the hours to scout out Potli’s numerous and unique knick knacks and doodads which give the restaurant its ‘bizarre Indian bazaar’ vibe. Whether for need or curiosity, don’t skip a trip to the quirky loos. Although, to be frank, it’ll probably be the former after sampling your way through Potli’s extensive list of cocktails and mocktails, flavoured with intriguing spices and aromats.
The restaurant has already been well-endorsed for both food and service, achieving Michelin recognition and inclusion in the Good Food Guide; placing in the top 5 UK Indian restaurants at the Tiffin Cup 2013; and being named as a Top 10 Indian restaurant by Tatler.
In Hindi, a ‘potli’ refers to a small bulbous parcel containing food and spices. Come prepared to tuck in; eat slightly more than your fill; and pat your very own burgeoning Potli in proud satisfaction.