I didn’t realise how deeply the Brits loved their curry until I moved here and witnessed their devotion to the curry house with my own eyes. Each neighbourhood in London has a bit of a food niche, but every one of them also has a curry house or three so it’s safe to say, the love is real. Which makes calling your restaurant ‘Pure Indian Cooking’ a rather bold statement. Whether that was all part of the master plan or the creative juices weren’t quite running when it came time to settle on a name; I like the promise it makes. Unlike many other weird and wonderful restaurant names, this leaves nothing cryptic to ponder, only a hope that it lives up to the claim.
We immediately had a good feeling about its purity when we ran our eyes over the surprisingly succinct list of offerings. I’m usually overwhelmed by the tome-like menus I get presented with at Indian restaurants but there was no such trauma here, just a tidy list split into starters, meats, fish, and vegetarian dishes, and a knowledgeable manager to explain any dishes we weren’t sure about. Though we needed no help in deciding on the chilli fried squid or the pepper shrimp. I have no idea how traditional the delicately spiced and battered squid rings are but I liked them; almost as much as the succulent shrimp enveloped in that peppercorn sauce. It was a touch on the salty side for me, but I still couldn’t resist the richness and generous spicing of the sauce.
During our run down the menu we were recommended the patra chaat, a popular Indian street food which I’ve tried in a few London restaurants before. Unfortunately those renditions weren’t quite to my taste so I vetoed it here which the kitchen obviously thought was a crying shame because one arrived at the table anyway. The version at Pure Indian Cooking consisted of colocasia leaves, yoghurt, date and tamarind chutney, onion, tomatoes, and pomegranates; a curious combination of textures, and sweet and sour notes intermingled. I was skeptical at first, but the more I ate, the more I warmed to it, though a certain someone proclaimed himself a fan right from the outset.
When the next round of dishes arrived, we realised we had definitely over-ordered in our excitement. Our feast consisted of a lamb sukke, Mangolorean chicken, aloo gabi, dal makhani, as well as a small bowl of rice and a paratha, all jostling for precious table and stomach space! I would have happily done without the Mangolorean chicken, though pleasant enough, the spicing was too subtle for me and I felt it was overpowered by the immense creaminess of the sauce. Meanwhile, the lamb sukke had me in raptures. The meat fell apart with the natural ease of something which has spent a long time being cooked low and slow so all the intense spices have had the chance to infuse into the lamb. It reminded me of a Malaysian rendang, which of course gave it bonus points in my scoring system.
Our vegetarian dishes were also a hit with me favouring the aloo gabi, while a certain someone couldn’t stop diving into the dal makhani. We’re not huge devourers of dal so this Punjabi dish of black lentils, cooked slowly overnight, was a new and inspiring discovery. I liked the overall nuttiness provided by the black lentils but found the cream adding a little too much sweetness and richness, and thus reserved it only for a quick dip with my paratha. I was recently enlightened (most likely through a cooking show) that perfecting an aloo gabi is harder than one thinks; the potato and cauliflower must be cooked enough for them to absorb the flavours from the spices, but not so much that they disintegrate into mush. If that’s true then this version passed with flying colours!
We didn’t finish it all, in case you’re wondering or sniggering at how greedy we are. The Pure Indian feast defeated us and we ended up taking some of it home for lunch the next day… one of the great perks of the curry house, if you ask me! They did manage to coerced us into trying two delightfully refreshing baked yoghurts, which were just the right ‘end of meal’ sweeteners we didn’t know we needed. They, like everything else we wolfed down that night, were delicious and I take my hat off to the Pure Indian Cooking team for delivering the pure goodness they promised. This is the local Indian restaurant you want round the corner; the dishes are prepared with such care and skill, this is definitely a step above your run of the mill curry house!
Do you have a local Indian restaurant that you know and love?
Thanks to Pure Indian Cooking for filling us up with pure Indian delights, but as always, all opinions are mine and mine alone!
Pin for Later?