Counter dining and funky cocktail bar in Soho
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : Indian
Address : 12 Denman Street, Soho, London, SW9 8PQ, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.kricket.co.uk/soho
Opening Times : Mon-Sat: 12pm-2.30pm, 5.30pm-10.30pm
Closest Tube : Piccadilly Circus
It's a hallmark of our time that people are willing to travel across London to eat in a shipping container, but also a testament to the chef's skills. When chef Will Bowlby and Rik Cambpell originally opened Kricket in Brixton, people flocked from all corners of the capital to gourmandise on modern Indian prepared with British ingredients. It wasn't long before their success led them to the heart of London, where they've opened a permanent bricks and mortar fixture.
Situated a stone's throw from Piccadilly Circus, the restaurants hums with activity as a cadre of chefs cook naan in the tandoor, deep fry samphire and pan sear parathas. We're seated directly next to the pass where we watch Mr Bowlby conduct the troops and finish off each dish with artful drizzles of yoghurt and chutney. It's a good-looking space to boot, blending dusty blue bar stools and wicker booths with exposed piping and other industrial detailing interspersed. On a Wednesday night at 6pm, the restaurant was almost full. As Kricket doesn't take bookings, be prepared to queue if you don't arrive off-peak.
However, it's Bowlby's prowess in the kitchens that brings crowds to the table. Having spent two years chefing in Mumbai, he brings a British mindset to the notoriously diverse cuisine, injecting a depth of flavour in dishes that you might experience in a Sunday roast. Case in point is the goat raan, the leg of the animal pulled and prepared with a hearty wallop of gaminess. We mopped this up with a kulcha naan dusted with ceps and bone marrow, which provided a similar meaty ballast. A minced duck leg kathi enveloped in crisp paratha and served with peanut chutney and pickled cucumbers continued this trend, while Keralan fried chicken was served with gracile curry leaves and curry leaf mayo as well as pickled mouli.
However, many of our favourite dishes didn't involve meat. Samphire pakoras, deep fried in a piquant batter and topped off with a tamarind date chutney and chilli garlic mayo, were a great way to start off the meal. Bhel puri with raw mango, tamarind, sev and yoghurt was one of the dishes that put Kricket on the map in Brixton, which Bowlby assured us would stay on the menu for perpetuity. However, our favourite dish of the evening was the delica pumpkin with makhani sauce, fresh paneer, hazelnut crumble and wild rice. It was the closest thing to a curry, with elegant spicing and a lovely presentation. This was rivalled only by roast scallops served in the shell with Goan pork, which was as sumptuous as it was beautiful.
Great new Indian restaurants have been opening at a mile a minute over the past year, and Kricket very much fits the bill. Just be prepared to queue!