Potli, in Hindi, means a small parcel, usually containing food.
First, the food: Potli is one of those rare Indian restaurants in London that are truthful and sincere to Indian food.
One doesn’t have to be a food connoisseur to realise that in most places, a single standard “curry” sauce is used to whitewash a wide range of dishes. It is difficult to distinguish the spices in your Paneer Tikka Masala from your Chicken Tikka Masala at most restaurants. But not at Potli.
From the tangy chutney in Mumbai’s chaat dishes to the garlic-cumin-cinnamon marinade in the Goan Pork Vindaloo and the rich coconut flavourings in the Kerala fish curry – every dish appeared to be distinctive, original and refreshing.
For its dishes, Potli uses locally produced fresh meat, fish and vegetables and seasons them using traditional Indian spices.
The restaurant offers street food from different regions of India. From the popular Bhel Puri and Paani Puri of Mumbai’s Chowpatty area to the Punjabi Samosa and Chole of Delhi’s Chandni Chowk, the food will transport you straight to Indian streets of the region of your choice.
India News Bulletin’s favourite is the Potli house speciality dish Prawn Jhal Diye – King prawns wrapped in banana leaves and charred.
The hospitality: Atithi Devo Bhavah (Guest is God) – thus goes an old Indian saying and one can feel it at Potli. Not only are the team members warm and welcoming, they customise food to your needs (less spicy, less salty) and even offer you a bit of guidance on what to eat if it is your first time. Apart from authentic food and friendly staff, there is the Indian warmth and aura that is hard to forget.
The Experience: Potli restaurant has a character – the dishes have a character; the starters served in a traditional boat-shaped environmental-friendly leaf plates have a character, the décor has a character, even the culinary sets have a character that excite your dining experience.
The minute you enter Potli, you know you are in a special place. Indian spices, Indian artefacts, Indian embroidered traditional scatter pillows, murals, paintings, lights and the exotic smell of the food – all bring to life the oriental exoticism.
The co-owner Uttam Tripathy is very friendly and chats to visitors both new and regular ones while the head-chef and co-owner Jay Ghosh’s passion and dedication for authentic Indian is palpable on every mouthful.
Prices: Although its tag line is Indian market kitchen, Potli is not your quick-bite, cheap food place. A dinner for two with wine will cost about £30 but it is money well-spent.
Upside: Good food, good prices, good portion sizes and attention to detail. Potli delivers what it says on the tin – Indian food. But the décor, the warmth of the people and the tasty regional dishes served in quirky style makes up for an exciting dining experience.
Downside: There isn’t much but if India News Bulletin was to nit-pick, we would have liked to see South Indian street food such as Dosas, Idlis and coconut chutneys on the menu.
India News Bulletin tip: If the staff members recommend a dish as “not-to-miss” or “today’s special”, go for it and you won’t regret it! Also, do not miss the stiff masala chai infused with cardamom and cinnamon. If you have a sweet tooth, order the kulfis for dessert.
You can dine al fresco, but India News Bulletin recommends you to sit inside for a meal to enjoy the ambience as much as the food.
Potli restaurant stands where once the ever-popular Tandoori nights restaurants stood. Tandoori nights was a hot favourite among Londoners who loved Indian food but thankfully Potli continues the tradition of delivering authentic and flavoursome Indian food.
India News Bulletin pays for its meals and all its restaurant reviews are independent and unbiased.Follow Archana Venkatraman on Google+