Food Blog | Cooking Blog
I would not ordinarily think to wander the Fulham Broadway vicinity in search of a top notch curry, but this family run restaurant is an unmissable destination for anybody hankering for refined North Indian cuisine. Featuring recipes passed down from generation to generation, the chef describes his food as "true to its' roots, yet married with a contemporary British sensibility". All it takes is a quickGoogle search to learn that ex-pats find a unique authenticity about his food, with descriptions of Kishmish as "a home away from home" with "heartwarmingly familiar spice blends". I am ashamed to admit that I barely recognised anything on the menu, realising quite how obtuse I was when my request for something butter chicken-esq was met by a polite reminder that what we Brits come to view as staple curries are in fact, entirely British. Whilst there is a lot to be said for the familiar, if you're up for trying something new, this needs to climb to the top of your list. It promises a host of pleasant surprises and nuanced flavours, forcing revision of any preconceptions of cuzza as heavy, e-numbery, or remotely predictable.
Since it was founded by the current owner's grandfather in 1966, Kishmish has upheld loyalty to their neighbours at Chelsea Football Club, offering match day deals and thematic specials in and amongst a stream of varying promotions - so for the Chelsea fans amongst you, or those looking to skim a few pounds off the bill, it is worth taking a peek at their website when you make your reservation. With a returning guest - The Brunch Hunter - in toe, I arrived in the early evening, at which point the restaurant was about half filled to capacity, so you might get away without a reservation on a weeknight. By the time we were done, however, it was heaving with a combination of locals and far-travelled regulars, many of whom greeted one another like old friends. Coupled with the modern and minimalist decor and abundance of sleek cocktails in eyesight, this contributed an ambiance that turned out to be a perfect reflection of the menu: tradition and familiarity blended with contemporary elegance.
After cruising our way through the generous basket of poppadoms (served with a triad of weird and wonderful sauces: a mango and green chilli salsa, a (very spicy) tomato relish, and a cucumber and black bean puree) we shared a variety of starter plates. My favourite - pan-seared scallops that were set atop a smear of garlic and chilli mash and drizzled in a coconut and lime leaf jus. Sounds over-complicated, but it wasn't. Each scallop was lightly dusted in a mild blend of spices that gave a zesty contrast to the sweet flavour of the meat, and all of the trimmings were served in tiny amounts, just giving each bite a perfectly rounded hint of spice, sweet, sour and salt. The Brunch Hunter was more partial to the paneer which was stuffed with tricolour veggies and served with a raw papaya chutney. I am not crazy about rubbery cheeses (haloumi, paneer, etc.) but the dish was, again, so impressive in its' composition and complementing flavours. We also shared a main (greedy shmeedy) of Mungpoli Baingan - a traditional dish of baby aubergines stuffed with spinach and paneer, with a twist - turmeric seasoned semolina cakes and a spicy peanut sauce. Again, I would never have thought to pair a satay like sauce with anything involving cheese, but it was brilliant. Us fighting for the last one is a particularly good sign given that the Brunch Hunter doesn't actually like aubergines...
Before our main, our waiter brought us a sample of the crispy whole soft shell crab, served with a lemon rice cake and crab mayo - definitely one to order in full size next time! The stand out main courses for us were Malabari Fish, a south Indian-style pan-seared sea bream fillet served with wild mushroom kedgeree, and ‘Buffalo Vindaloo’ – Laverstoke park diced buffalo cooked in authentic vindaloo masala, served with ghee rice. Both were dishes we rich and flavoursome with presentation to match. I am always bowled over by oily fish when it is served fresh, and cooked so that the skin is golden and crispy whilst the flesh retains all of its' moisture and bounce. The seasoning was subtle, with the strongest flavours coming through from the kedgeree. Unusual and outstandingly yum. We also tried a pan-fried Gressingham duck breast, glazed with honey and served with spinach mash and pineapple salsa which was brilliant, and some funny little beetroot cutlet and black rice patties, miss rotti, Bhindi Masala (okra cooked with onions and tomatoes) and an incredible selection of naans. Unsurprisingly, we opted out of dessert...