Are you ready to go on a delectable journey through India with dishes that taste homemade but don’t need a filter for the gram? Then let me introduce you to Pure Indian Cooking (PIC).
Owned by the husband and wife team of Faheem Vanoo and Shilpa Dandekar, both of whom started their careers with the famed Taj group in India. Faheem leads the front of house team and Shilpa, who has worked with such master chefs as the legendary Raymond Blanc OBE and Sriram Aylur of the Michelin starred Quilon, heads the kitchen.
Just a 2-minute walk from Putney Bridge, this cosy yet modern decorated restaurant is as welcoming as it is delicious. The staff taking care of us for the evening were ever-attentive and were knowledgeable about the history of the dishes we ordered and their recommendations.
While they don’t have the typical dishes you’d expect on an Indian menu, they can still make it on request. In case you needed another reason to actually leave your house rather than order takeaway, this menu is available in-restaurant only. As our waiter put it, “It’s like a prize for actually coming in.”
And, you know what? I completely agree!
The menu was so different and enticing it was difficult to choose, so we asked him to help us select a few things and it did not disappoint.
For starters, we ordered Pani Puri Shots, Pappadoms, Patra Chaat and Aandra Prawns. The Pani Puri shots had a shot of this refreshing minty sauce you pour into it and I was sad they had to be eaten in one bite. Especially because I wanted to add the tomato chutney dip that comes with the poppadoms, legitimately asked for a small tub to take home with me…they said yes. The Patra Chaat was unlike anything I’ve ever had and just so flavourful. It’s made with colocasia leaves with yoghurt, date and tamarind chutney, pomegranate seeds, onion and tomato. I’ve literally not stopped talking about it. The Aandra Prawns come tossed in a fennel masala and beautifully decorated.
We also ordered the Orange and Tamarind Chicken Tikka, Fish curry, Lasooni Palak, Saffron Pulao rice and Chives and Brown Garlic Pulao rice. This sumptuous meal went beyond any expectations I had. Not one for ordering fish curry, I was a little hesitant when our waiter recommended it. It turned out to be my favourite, the flavour set my tastebuds alight with the layers of flavour that complement the fresh halibut beautifully. The Chicken Tikka comes as two chicken thighs with an orange and tamarind glaze, it was the combination of flavours I didn’t know my palate needed. The Lasooni Palak is creamy spinach with brown garlic and dry fenugreek leaves, definitely order this side when you go. The rice and spinach were perfect accompaniments, didn’t even miss the naan or roti.
Even the dessert defies any expectation you’d have, no punky ice cream here, thank you very much! The mango sorbet was gorgeous, but the Badaam ka halwa and poached cherries was, quite literally, the cherry on top. Made of warm almond halwa, poached cherries and sauce with vanilla ice cream, I struggled on a personal level to share with others.
By the end of our meal, we were happily full but took home leftovers because I didn’t want the magic to end. The Chives and Brown Garlic Pulao rice, Lasooni Palak and tomato chutney make for a tasty lunch. Just saying.
Pure Indian Cooking is open for Lunch: Thursday, Friday & Sunday 12 pm-2:30 pm Dinner: Monday- Saturday 6 pm-11 pm, Sunday 6 pm-10:30 pm
Address: 67 Fulham High St, London SW6 3JJ
Nearest Tube: Putney Bridge
Written by Leora Moreno