The restaurant: Pure Indian Cooking, 67 Fulham High St, Fulham, London SW6 3JJ
The menu at Pure Indian Cooking, Fulham’s female-led Indian restaurant, is intriguing: curried steam mussel, spicy fennel shrimps, fried crab and kokum, and venison masala all gleam from it. But how would I feel about scallops with strawberries and mint? And would things get a little too fruity with tandoori duck and apricot? The rest of the menu offers safe favourites: paneer pakora, chicken tikka, chana masala and lamb biriyani. Chef-Patron Shilpa Dandekar knows about modern British cooking and Michelin-starred Indian food and aims to combine her two loves in her Pure Indian Cooking restaurant she runs with her husband.
Things started with a cocktail, a margarita for me. Chilli-spiced tequila, mango, cointreau and lime juice, served with a long red chilli floating in the top. It made me think of mango lassi pepped with tequila. The chillis make your tongue tingle a little afterwards; it’s rather good. I was surprised by the Belgian beer selection — a European quirk of the menu — that featured Duvel and Chimay, and Leifmans for dessert, if you fancied it.
We started with the parta chaat, sweet with date chutney and crunchy with crisp onions, then punctuated with juicy pomegranate seeds. This was joined by a raw jackfruit and paneer fritters dish topped with pineapple. If you’re using jackfruit as a meat substitute, it takes some getting used to, though dressing it up as pulled pork certainly helps. While the pineapple tried to disguise the jackfruit, a mouthful of paneer and fruit wasn’t my favourite. The much-talked up scallops with strawberries were popular on our table, but by this point I realised fruit and savoury rarely lands in my favour.
The Halibut fish curry, Dandekar’s own recipe, is the best thing on the menu. Shared between four isn’t enough: order a bowl for yourself. It’s very mild and delicately spiced, but halibut has never tasted so good. The tandoori duck was well-seasoned but a little on the tough side. Dal makhani, a veggie staple and must-order, was a warming and filling accompaniment. Asparagus tossed with pine nuts and coconut was our other lovely side, and a great way to add pack veggies into your visit. Round things off with badaam ka halwa, a warm pureed almond desert with ice cream and honeycomb. It’s very sweet (and best shared) but delightful with a coffee.
Pure Indian Cooking is a local favourite. Is it worth a trip to Fulham from further afield? If you’d like to try out something interesting and inventive, then yes. And if curried seafood is your favourite? Then certainly.
To book, visit PureIndianCooking.com or call 020 7736 2521.
For more London restaurant inspiration, click here.