Last week I decided to ignore my bank balance and go out for a lovely meal in Soho – because what on Earth is the point of living in crappy Kent, if you never make the most of London?!
Kricket marries modern Indian flavours with seasonal British ingredients, serving them artfully as small plates. The atmosphere is minimalistic, very trendy, creating a comfortable yet fashionable vibe. We got there at 6.15, just ahead of the queue.
The restaurant is orientated around the large open kitchen, stretching nearly the whole way down the room. Half of the seats in there are at the kitchen counter, in full view of the action. The all-male chefs provide excellent entertainment and look incredibly efficient; their close presence effectively involves the spectators, connecting them with their food.
The menu is short (good sign) and the waitress was extremely helpful, serving us free flowing (!) still or sparkling. It’s helpfully divided into sections of Kulcha Breads, Sides, Veg, Fish, Meat and Pudding. Everything is between £3.50 – £13, averagely about £7.
The dishes range from ‘chaat’ style (Indian street food), to curries and dals which emulate traditional Indian recipes, but with a London twist.
The small plates come out randomly, whenever they’re ready. First we had the Bhel Puri £5.5 – puffed rice with delicious mango, tamarind and yoghurty flavours. They recently updated their Instagram with a photo of Bhel Puri street food in Mumbai, telling me that it was the first ever item on their menu.
Next to arrive was the famous bowl of Samphire pakoras £6 – the crisp, salty, Samphire stalks make an ideal vessel for the classic Indian technique of deep frying. They were covered in date and tamarind chutney and served with a divine chilli garlic mayo, which we didn’t want to let go of!
The much anticipated Keralan fried chicken £8.5 arrived next, served with pickled mouli and a curry leaf mayonnaise. I have to say, I’ve never enjoyed a piece of fried chicken so much in my life! They were succulent, delicious, and didn’t taste too fatty.
The most inventive, slightly rogue, thing we had was the Goan sausage jamun £7 served in a tiny doughnut bun with caramelised fennel and fennel sugar on top. The ‘burger’ style is definitely a deviation from Indian cuisine, but the flavours worked well even if the bun was slightly dry.
To finish up we had the Green chilli, garlic and Berkswell (cheese) Kulcha bread £4, Tarka dal with burnt garlic £4 and Pumpkin in makhani sauce with fresh paneer, hazelnut crumble and puffed wild rice £8. The dal was very traditional and tasty, as was the Kulcha bread. The pumpkin was nice addition, working well with sauce – which retained all the sweet, buttery flavours of the classical paneer butter masala dish.
The cocktail menu looked AMAZING but I restrained myself to having a bottle of my favourite ‘brand’ of beer – Bristol based Wiper and True. Overall the experience was both delicious and exciting. Much more stylish than everywhere we ate in India!
Comparing it to ‘the real deal’, the first places that spring to mind are the chaat cafe and famous dal place that we went to in Varanasi. Both places were sweltering, squished, filthy, and if they existed in London, there is no way in hell that I would walk through the front door. Well, they’d definitely have been shut down anyway! Obviously there’s a but coming here: the food was absolutely incredible. Blows anything you’d eat in England out the water. This is what I wrote down in my notes from the chaat place:
- Dahi Puri (deep fried nests stuffed with nuts, tamarind, yoghurt, coriander)
- Tamarar chaat (tomatoes, potatoes, chickpeas)
- Samosa chaat (smashed samosa with nuts, coriander sauce, tamarind, yoghurt)
- (In my rush I missed off the one similar to the one above but with mashed up falafel and strings of radish / carrot)
- Gulab Jamun (deep fried sugary balls of milk powder)
- Kulfi Faluda (saffron / cardamon ice cream and weird cold noodles)
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a snap of the interior of that one. I did however get the dal place that we went do, plastic chairs, tobacco-spit covered walls, grime and all. It was a locals hangout. Not dressed up – exactly how it was meant to be. Their dal was out of this world. I think they cooked it for hours and hours, if not days, adding very sweet caramelised onions but no other frills. We scooped it up with tandoori roti. (See featured image).
All in all, I would highly recommend Kricket. The flavours took me back to India and the Chef’s creativity really came out in all of the dishes.