Pure Indian Cooking in Fulham

We headed across London to explore the Indian cooking of one of just a handful of Indian Female Head Chefs at Pure Indian Cooking in Fulham.


Pure Indian Cooking is run by co-owners Michelin-level trained Indian Head Chef Shilpa Dandekar and her husband Faheem Vanoo. Both started their careers with the world reknowned Taj Hotels Group in India, and have also developed their skills at top London Indian institutions: The Bombay Brasserie and Michelin-starred Quillon. Also, Shilpa trained under Michelin-starred Chef Raymond Blanc OBE and became their first female head chef.

Pure Indian Cooking’s USP is that they use quality ingredients, sourced from their contacts developed working all these years in the industry, to create dishes with clean, fresh flavours with subtle spicing, and presented with finesse.

After receiving a warm welcome from Chef Shilpa’s husband Faheem, we settled down to cocktails with exotic ingredients that reflected both Shilpa and Faheem’s careers starting with Taj; we loved the restaurant with its bright decor, beautiful artwork and metalwork of the light fixtures.


C loved her light and fresh Lychee and Lemongrass cocktail, and I enjoyed the sweeter floral notes of the hibiscus syrup in the Hibane cocktail off-set with the sharpness from the champagne. I particularly loved the addition of the hibiscus flower, which opened up in the glass and was picture perfect! Thanks Faheem for the cocktail recommendation.

We were tempted by the Taste of Mumbai, a selection of streetfood that transports you to the authentic flavours of India and creates memories of the hustle and bustle of busy streets in Mumbai, but decided on kicking off with delicacies traditionally cooked in the Tandoor (a clay oven): malai (double cooked cream) lamb chops and tandoor king prawns.


The lamb chops were still pink and succulent, and the plump prawns had a wonderful, unique smokey note that you only get from the tandoor. Also the raw mango and ginger’s sharpness and gentle heat complemented the sweetness of the prawns.

As we were talking about our shared love of India with Faheem, he recommended one of his favourite cocktails – a mango and chilli margarita. It took us straight back to memories of drinking cocktails on the beach, whilst visiting relatives in Goa at the end of January!


As Faheem advised us that they use local butchers, that they personally use for home entertaining also, in Putney Bridge to supply all their meats especially game. We decided on the spiced Barbury duck roast and a spiced vension roast from their game selection. These were matched with side dishes of dal makhani, laccha paratha and peshwari naan.


Dal Makhani is a rich, creamy and delicious dal from the Punjab. Shilpa made this perfectly. We loved the cardamom and clove notes in both the game dishes; though in our opinion, the spice levels could be reduced slightly to enable the flavours of the game to shine through in those dishes. Lachha paratha is a North Indian speciality, especially from the Punjab, and is essentially means layers and layers in Punjabi (think of a mille feuille but in paratha/ bread form), and is cooked in the tandoor; we have enjoyed it when travelling in India, and take it from me, this crispy, flaky delight is perfect with a cup of hot Indian chai for breakfast! (Though I will probably be shot for saying that, as it is meant to be eaten with some sort of curry.) The highlight of the breads was the peshwari naan, which had a lovely balance of coconut, toasted almonds and plump sultanas.

Save space for dessert – I am sure you all know that you have a separate dessert stomach!


Shilpa has done a wonderfully unique and creative twist on the traditional halwa turning it into a lovely crumble (especially perfect for that comforting hug from a dessert on those cooler nights). Really liked the way it was served on a slate board and in a cast iron skillet. C said that she enjoyed the spiced chocolate mousse, though she found it a bit heavy after a rich meal.

Overall, their USP rang true especially with beautifully presented dishes showcasing Shilpa’s Michelin-level training , and a great experience with pleasant service and excellent mixology skills from Faheem – shame we did not get a chance to meet Chef Shilpa herself, as the restaurant was becoming increasingly busy during our visit; with dine in customers and also with take away orders. We take our hats off to Shilpa and Faheem, as they have to look after their small daughter (who was entertaining herself with an ipad) whilst looking after a busy restaurant. Also, we already have our sights on the Dover sole recheado, roasted aubergine, lamb sukke, and the saffron pulao for our next visit.

Be taken on a journey through India via your food. One of the restaurants we recommend you to check out for London Food Month!


Twitter: #Indian #cuisine @PureCooking @ShilpaDandekar #fulham #fulhamhighstreet #putneybridge @humayunhussain @TajHotels

@raymond_blanc @SupperClubGuide @MridulaBaljekar #travel #transportedtoIndia #foodbloggers @LondonFoodMonth


Thank you to Food and Hospitality Consultant Humayun Hussain for inviting us to review Pure Indian Cooking.

About goantolondon

International food and travel blog by London based British Goan duo: Jason and Chiara Pinto. Twitter: @goantolondon @jasonpinto100 @chiarapinto About Goa: Goa is a small state on the western coast of India. Though the smallest Indian state, Goa has played an influential role in Indian history. Goa was one of the major trade centers in India, thus it had always been attracting the influential dynasties, seafarers, merchants, traders, monks and missionaries since its earliest known history. Throughout its history Goa has undergone continual transformation, leaving an indelible impression on various aspects of its cultural and socio-economic development. History of Goa: The East-West symbiosis of Goa makes it different from other parts of India, more than the historical and social niche. The history of Goa is a sweet and sour story of colonial heritage, oppressive rulers, a glorious culture, and uneventful immediate past. As a land with the identity of its own, Goa was brought into focus when it was liberated of Portugal from its oppressive rule of around 450 hundred years in 1961. Goa was captured and annexed to the Portuguese in 1510 following the urges of trade and demand of spices and also cottons and indigo. But, Goa has a history that starts much before Portugal even thought of Goa being where it is. Goa was coveted and ruled by a great number of Indian kingdoms and dynasties from the 4th century onwards. The first kingdom to rule Goa and Konkan were Bhojas, who were the feudatories of Ashoka in 4th and 5th centuries AD. The city of Chandrapur (present Chandor) was founded by Prince Chandraditya, son of Chalukya King Pulakesin from 566 to 597 A.D. after this, Goa was ruled consecutively by Silahara Dynasty, Kadamba Danasty, and finally Hoysalas from 1022 to 1342 A.D. From the 14th century onwards, Goa became a great trading center on the west coast, especially in the vast trade of horses imported from the Middle East. This was the time for bigger empires to move in and Vijayanagar Empire conquered it in 1344. But there empire was not going to last too long and in 1347, Bahmani Sultans defeated Vijayanagara forces in 1347 and controlled Goa. Afterwards, it was a time of great prosperity and peace for Gpa, especially during the rules of Yusuf Adil Shah and Ismail Adil Shah. They created beautiful houses, fortified Goa, and encouraged local craftsmen. Their liberal and progressive rule was not going to last too long and situation changed in 1510 A.D. Goa for all purposes was not on the Portuguese Radar even after a long time of their presence in India. When the Portuguese nobleman Alfonso de Albuquerque and his cousin Francisco de Albuquerque were sent with a powerful fleet in 1503 on the orders of King Dom Manuel I, the purpose was to defend the cargoes of spices, mostly pepper, against Arab Muslim raiders. The center of spice trade was Calicut at that time and Portuguese had built forts in Cochin and Cannanore. It was in 1506-08 that an opportunistic pirate, Timoja, persuaded Albuquerque to attack Goa and acquire a better land base. This made Goa, Portugal's first real territorial acquisition in Asia. After a brief period of recapturing by the Muslims, Goa Albuquerque finally captured Goa in 1510. The inquisition of Goa in 1540 reversed the previous liberal policy of Albuquerque and imposed strict censorship of literature and new laws to forbade non-Christians from professions. Forced conversions took place continuously, censorship was established on literature, the temples were destroyed, and non-Christian priests, holy men, and teachers were evicted. This led to continuous fleeing of Hindus from Goa to other parts of India. It is not that the relationship with Portugal brought only destruction for the Goans. Portuguese also built great churches like the church of St. Cajetan and Bom Jesus basilica in Old Goa, which is a pilgrimage site for the Christians from around the world. But it is also true that pre-1961; Goa was a highly impoverished region very backward and primitive. It is after the liberation that Goa of today has emerged and it has surprised even the locals many of whom had left their homeland before its liberation. Portugal and India are today friends and Goa continues to be a fascinating blend of Latin and Oriental. Information sourced from: http://www.royalorienttrain.com/goa/goa-history.html
This entry was posted in Bombay Brasserie, Duck, Fulham High Street, Fulham Road, Global inspirations, Humayun Hussain, Indian, London, Meat, Michelin-level training, Modern Indian, Putney Bridge, seafood, Shilpa Dandekar, South Indian, Style of cooking, Sunday Lunch ideas, Taj Hotels Group, traditional goan dishes, Venison and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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