Potli is a little over a year old and it has already earned a mention in the Michelin Guide so you might be expecting something over-priced and glitzy. But this restaurant is the sort you would want as your local, your regular haunt for truly delicious food and a pleasant evening with friends, and at a reasonable price.
This little gem is the brainchild of two friends with impeccable culinary credentials. Jay Ghosh, head chef, and front of house manager Uttam Tripathy are joint managing directors and are justly proud of their considerable achievements.
Jay studied with one of the most celebrated groups in India, Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, and moved to the UK in 2002. Uttam graduated from the Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology and joined the Radisson Group. They have had the best training, but nothing beats making your own mark and the ex-Tandoori Nights restaurant has provided these two young men with their venue.
We first visited shortly after opening (see review here) but made a return visit to try the new menu. On that first occasion the ground floor of the restaurant had gradually filled over the evening and we had a look at the as yet unfinished basement dining area. This second visit showed how times have changed. We were confronted by a large group of expectant diners sipping some signature cocktails as we arrived. Seems that Potli is becoming a destination bar as well as restaurant in Hammersmith.
That main restaurant was full and buzzing so we were shown to our basement table. It’s now all finished and furnished, and would be my space of choice for private dining. It has an air of sophistication with a window onto the kitchen. Atul Kotchhar once told me that a restaurateur should never be ashamed of showing his toilets or his kitchen, and that window does rather give a sense of being totally immersed in the theatre of food preparation.
No, not everything has changed on the menu but it makes good business sense to present new dishes from time to time, to gauge what works for that increasing band of loyal regulars. We took the opportunity to try a few of the new items:
Samosa Chaat – homemade samosa flavoured with ajwain (carom seeds), served with onions, tomatoes, chutney, and yoghurt – is a new house speciality and this evening it was studded with pomegranate seeds for colour and juicy sweetness. A delightful light nibble while considering the rest of the well-balanced menu – plenty of choice here for non-meat eaters and even vegetarians:
Shammi Kebab was made from Kentish lamb and flavoured with cinnamon and mace. This style of kebab is just as much about texture as taste. ‘Melt in the mouth’ and ‘soft as butter’ are a couple of overworked phrases but sometimes they honestly are accurate descriptions. These patties were fragrant and delicate.
Sarsho and Ajwaini Salmon tikka is a must-try and I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a salmon dish so much. Chef Jay displays a deft hand at the tandoor. Premium Scottish salmon steak is marinated in piquant mustard and carom seeds, and finished in the charcoal tandoor, which imparts a remarkable flamed flavour. Another tapestry of tenderness.
Lamb Coconut Fry is one of the more robustly spiced dishes on the new menu but it doesn’t sacrifice flavour for heat. Tender morsels of Kentish lamb, tossed with whole spices, coconut, curry leaves and crushed black pepper creating an unctuous sauce is hearty and deserves the accolade of House Speciality. Don’t miss this one.
Kadhai King Prawn Masala was plump and moist seafood flavoured with coriander, chillies and ginger. Nothing needed with this apart from some rice or a round or two of Potli’s excellent naan bread. It has that heat but sweetness from the prawns.
It’s such a pleasure to see the dream become reality for Jay and Uttam. Yes, there is a secret to their success: skill, hard work and passion. They have created a restaurant that fits the neighbourhood and is becoming ‘the local’ for some of us who are not even very local. It’s worth the trip.
Monday – Thursday 12 noon – 2:45pm, 6.00pm – 10:30pm
Friday and Saturday 12 noon – 2:45pm, 6.00pm – 11:00pm
Sunday: Open all day from 12 noon – 10:30 pm
Potli – An Indian market kitchen
319-321 King Street, Hammersmith, London, W6 9NH
Phone: 020 8741 4328 / 020 8741 5321
Visit Potli here
Ravenscourt Park or Stamford Brook: 3-4 minutes walk
Hammersmith: 8-10 minutes walk
Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018