Mon–Thu and Sun midday–2.45pm and 6pm–10.30pm; Fri–Sat midday–2.45pm and 6pm–11pm
Potli is a south Indian restaurant known as a market kitchen. It excels in creating dishes that unite different regions, producing an Indian hybrid cuisine. The atmosphere is relaxed and the décor is unpretentious – scattered with trinkets of a traveller; there are star lamps, hessian sack cushions and kitsch tin Indian adverts.
We started with a pappadum basket (£1.50) which to my delight weren’t the usual pappadums that stick to the roof of your mouth. These included puffed rice cakes and crisp, salty pappadums with homemade chutneys such as sour tamarind and sweet mango.
The staff were incredibly attentive and willing to explain our dishes, from where they came from to what they include.
We were refreshed by the lemony unoaked chardonnay that we freely sipped alongside our pre-starters of pani puris (£3) – puffed semolina crisps filled with chickpea paste and tamarind water, and bhel puri (£3) – puffed rice sweetened with peanuts which had a strange springy texture.
To start, the other half went for piayzi (£4.25) – beautifully light and crispy onion bhaji with none of the oil that you would normally associate with them. I opted for the tastiest coated fried chicken (£4.25) I have ever eaten, exceeding American buttermilk chicken by miles.
I couldn’t wait for my personal favourite, the lamb biryani (£12.50). It wasn’t a let down – sweet prunes and raisins with deeply rich marinated lamb chunks. Absolute perfection. He went for a Kerala fish curry (£8.75) – fragrant with coconut milk and curry leaves although the tilapia fish was somewhat lacking in flavour. We both shared a keema naan (£3) and a peshwari naan (£2.50).
He was beaten but I was ready to soldier on with the mango crème brulee (£4.50). It conquered me after three spoonfuls, even if it was exotically flavoursome and sweet. We finished with some fresh mint tea (£2).
Meal for two, including wine and service, £50.