There is a lot of truth in the old cliche that ‘food brings people together’. Without food being involved, it is likely that I would never see half of my friends, nor would I have met half of the new ones I have made in London. Any food usually works, but I think it is the most familiar and comforting ones that do the ‘bringing together’ the best. My proof is in the pizza. I can think of nothing else that would bring four food-loving, photograph-taking, blog-writing ladies together more enthusiastically or religiously than the simple pleasure of a good pizza. Meeting for pizza has become such a ritual, we turned it into a club and happily hold our meetings anywhere a decent slice is served.
Our latest meeting took us all a little out of our ways (these are the extreme lengths we go to for Pizza Club) to a cosy corner of Fulham which has been transformed into a slice of the Italian south. Meridionale, which literally translates to mean ‘from the South’, aims to showcase the best of the Southern regions such as Naples, Sicily, Calabria and Sardinia so we were excited to discover some new dishes or curious tweaks to well-know favourites. But first, we had to pop the prosecco to adjourn the meeting… we don’t have too many rules at Pizza Club however that is definitely one of them!
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.