It is meticulous in it's culinary offering, inspired by modern trends in eating (I've never seen a curry house you can get brown or risotto rice in before), but is deeply unpretentious, authentic, accessible and most importantly, delicious. There is a care there akin to feeding your family on a special day, rather than setting out to please industry, and if that isn't the spirit of Indian cooking, I don't know what is.
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Kishmish has stood on the Fulham Road since 1966 but today it's not your ordinary run of the mill Indian curry house, it has a sophisticated and modern menu with a refined take on cooking which is true to its roots yet married with a contemporary British sensibility.
Step out of Fulham Broadway Tube station hang a left and head down Fulham Road towards Stamford Bridge football ground the iconic home of Chelsea. Go a little more than 100 yards and you will have passed your destination the Indian restaurant Kishmish. I have done this on numerous occasions, but in famous Sat Nav talk on my latest visit to the area I turned around and headed back to sample the culinary delights of this long established eating house.
While travelling to Indian restaurant in Fulham, on what I think is the most useless underground line in the whole wide world I really hoped that it would actually be worth it. When it comes to Indian restaurants there normally is very little to be excited about, but I am always ready to give it a benefit of a doubt, and to my surprise I was in for a big treat.
Kishmish struck me as a well designed venue, simple and even a bit understated, an interesting blend of western and Indian designs. Maybe it was the dimmed lights, or just general ambience that made me feel like it is a perfect venue for those who want to escape loud crowds.
We’re ready to go beyond Korma, Jalfrezi and Vindaloo. And many Indian restaurants are realizing this. Kishmish Fulham is now serving some imaginative and inventive dishes. The meat within the curries – pigeon, guinea fowl, duck – are more reminiscent of Henry VIII’s larder than anything on Brick Lane. You couldn’t quite call this bona-fide Indian. But you could call it damn fine.
The starters declare Kishmish’s intentions. Ostrich tikka on beetroot with mint chutney is earthy and rich. When have you had ostrich with Indian spices? It’s not a gimmick, either. My murgh tikka trio is more orthodox – rough chunks of chicken marinated in a trio of sauces, roasted in a tandoor. It’s cooked flawlessly, just enough time to begin crisping the skin but still soft and juicy within.
A tiny pot of soup is presented, about the size of a salt-shaker. Butternut squash, roasted and blended with cardamom, cumin and garam masala, is comforting. Spicy but subtle, each mouthful leads you through a deep sweetness into a mist of spiciness. It’s accomplished yet simple and rustic.
I have to admit when it comes to Indian restaurants, I do have a couple of firm favourites which makes it very difficult for me to go off-piste and try something new. After all, once you’ve found something you like, why look around?
Recently, I was invited to try Kishmish on Fulham Road. Goodness knows how many times I’ve passed it over the years when heading towards Fulham Broadway. It’s always been there but because I know what I like, I hadn’t thought about venturing inside.
To my surprise, inside was bigger than expected. The restaurant isn’t just what you see from outside. There’s a whole other area that makes up more than half of the restaurant.
When preparing your curry, score the meat and gently rub the spices into the meat for five minutes. The heat from your hands will help the spices absorb into the meat and make it lovely and tender. Also, game meats are also a great choice for curries and shouldn’t be overlooked, including duck, wood pigeon, and guinea fowl.
13th-19th October is National Curry Week in Britain. Now in its 17th year, the event celebrates Britain’s favourite dish while raising money to combat poverty through a variety of special dinners, record-breaking attempts, raffles and auctions.
The first thing that you notice when you take your seat at Kishmish, an “innovative Indian restaurant”, is the great customer service – although they didn’t lay it on too thick. I love an attentive waiter but sometimes they can smother you like you’re visiting an overexcited “empty nest” mum for Sunday lunch. I went for the lamb chop (£8, pictured) for starter, followed by the jhinga kali mirch (spicy prawn curry, basically; £18) for main, which were both well nice. Generally, the food was amazing, offering a bit of a modern spin on the traditional Indian. Then it was fig and honey kulfi (£5) for dessert; I didn’t have a clue what it was, but I love a surprise, so went for it. It was INCREDIBLE. Imagine a Mini Milk on steroids. The Rolls Royce of frozen dairy dessert.
The local curry house - a very British institution. We are sure you all have your favourite & it is no doubt a family run establishment that you have been going to for years, mainly because it is local, familiar & the food is pretty good. Maybe they now even now serve you Kingfisher in a glass? However for any foodie out there - why do you settle for the standard curry, why do you not have the same level of expectations for pushing boundaries, innovative cooking & fine dining presentation that you would do for other cuisine?
(1) Fulham may not be where you'd usually head to in search for a top-notch curry, but this West London curry house has been building up a sterling reputation since 1966, when it first opened.
(2) Kishmish has since been transformed by the original owner's grandson, who has brought in a new chef and given both the menu and the venue a makeover, turning it into more of a destination restaurant; something which may have come as a shock to the regulars, accustomed to a more discreet local.
(3) They won't, however, be disappointed by the smells that waft through from the kitchen; a combination of coastal spices inspired by Head Chef Cruz Gomez's hometown of Goa that's likely to make passers by cancel their dinner reservations elsewhere