This high street restaurant opened in 2016, with chef and owner Shilpa Dandekar having previously been a sous chef at Quilon. The dining room is set at ground floor level, simply decorated with a bar area to the right as you enter. The menu has many familiar Indian dishes but also some more exotic ones such as venison masala.
There was a short wine list, with no vintages shown and labels such as Cave de l’Ormarine Picpoul de Pinet Duc de Morny at £24 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £10, Domaine de la Motte Chablis at £45 compared to its retail price of £16, and Lallier Grand Cru Brut NV at £64 for a wine that will set you back £30 in a shop.
Patra chaat was an interesting starter. Patra is a Gujurati recipe that takes colocasia leaves (which have to be de-veined) and rolls them up with a filling of gram flour and spices that is then steamed. Here the patra was chopped up and combined with date and tamarind chutney, yoghurt, onion, tomatoes and pomegranate seeds. You rarely see patra in restaurants but it is a fine thing, and I have never seen it in this format as a chaat. It worked really well, the combination of textures and spices lovely (14/20). By contrast, tandoori lamb chops were a disappointment, being a little dry and borderline chewy in places, with limited spice coming through from the marinade (barely 11/20).
Mangalorian chicken was fine, quite buttery, the meat pleasantly cooked and the sauce having a gentle kick of green chilli (13/20). Aloo gobi was quite good, the cauliflower and potatoes having retained their texture quite well (13/20). Black dhal was very good, with a smoky flavour note and quite thick texture (14/20). I liked the naan bread and to a lesser extent the paratha, which was hot and freshly made but just a touch greasy (13/20). Tandoori stuffed peppers were quite small in scale, yellow peppers stuffed with cottage cheese, brown cashew nuts and sultanas that had been soaked in jasmine tea. These were harmless enough but did not have a great deal of flavour (12/20). Finally, a dessert that resembled shrikand was very enjoyable, with smooth texture (13/20).
The bill came to £48 per person. Service was very good, with an attentive Italian waitress who patiently put up with a table of loud and quite rude pensioners in the window table. As a general issue I would say that the spicing felt a little crude, with chilli bite but without the complex blend of unique spices that the best Indian restaurants manage to produce. Nonetheless, overall I generally enjoyed my meal at Pure Indian Cooking and would happily return.