Pure Indian Cooking – a hidden gem in Fulham

67 Fulham High Street, SW6 3JJ

It was a rare sunny day in the capital, and I shielded my eyes as I headed into an unfamiliar part of town: Fulham. The District line has never been my friend, but perhaps advised by the weather gods, I arrived into Putney Bridge station without any major incidents. A far quieter area of town than my native Camden, I enjoyed the short evening stroll and arrived at Pure Indian Cooking early for my reservation.

The exterior was unassuming, and the interior quiet and rather empty, but this can be forgiven as it was early on a Tuesday evening. Apart from a few wall adornments, the whole decor was rather minimalistic and slightly devoid of atmosphere. This was a bit of a pity, as the food certainly deserves more! PURE is owned by a husband and wife team, and it is the wife, Shilpa Dandekar, who leads the kitchen, after having trained with Raymond  Blanc (Brasserie Blanc) and Sriram Aylur (Quilon). This was exciting for me to hear, as it is such a male-dominated profession, and so I was looking forward to tasting her cooking, which is known to be flavoursome and refined, without being too high-end or pretentious. And on this promise it certainly delivered.

As I waited for my friend to arrive, I sipped on a non-alcoholic ‘Red Smash’, which would have been more refreshing if it hadn’t been for the added sugar (this was my mistake, though, as it was clearly listed as such on the menu). We later opted for two different mango cocktails (a bellini, and a chili martini), both of which were far superior.

We decided to start with the sharing platter, which was made up of a number of items, including an excellently succulent malai tikka chicken. We also loved the tandoori paneer (it’s very difficult for paneer not to seduce me), and the spiced cashew nuts gave a nice crunch. The chili squid was adequately spicy, but the winner for us was the seekh kebab, which was bursting with flavour. The side salad nestled on the side of the board felt slightly out of place, but apart from that, the board was a roaring success.

I’d been recommended the kalimirch ka murgh, or chicken in cashew nuts, yogurt, fresh mint, and black pepper, and it was my favourite dish of the night. As with the starter, it was superbly tender and succulent, and the gravy, whilst mild, had a lot of flavour. I licked that bowl clean…

We skipped the game and instead chose the lamb sukke (Maharashtrian style lamb cooked in dry spices) so we could contrast the somewhat milder chicken dish. Being quite spicy, it struck a perfect balance between warming our throats without being too overpowering.

Tadka daal (yellow split peas) is my favourite form of lentil, but I’m hard-pressed to praise if it hasn’t been made by Mummy Swindian… she just has a magic touch! But for anybody who has never tasted her genius, PURE’s version was very good indeed.

And as for the sides, the rice we received was perfect, but both breads, the laccha paratha and the garlic naan, unfortunately fell slightly below expectation as they were a bit dry.

We were too full for dessert (this always seems to happen to me?!), but the menu looked amazing and I wish we could have tried some. But we have to leave something for next time, right? PURE convinced me with their focus on bold flavours, both familiar and with a slight twist, and despite the slight disappointment on the breads, I’ll gladly return for the kalimirch ka murgh alone!
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I was a guest at Pure Indian Cooking, but as always, all opinions are my own.