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Kricket Soho

12 Denman Street, London, W1D 7HH, United Kingdom

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This restaurant started out as, of all things, a pop-up serving Anglo/Indian fusion food in a shipping container in Brixton. In January 2017 this sailed up to Soho and into a permanent berth just north of Piccadilly Circus. The menu is trying for something beyond high street staples, so you see things like “Lasooni Goan sausage, poha, seaweed” and “bone marrow and cep kulcha”. This being the very acme of hipster London, it will be of no surprise that the menu is “sharing plates” format, the dishes arrive in whatever order the kitchen deems fit, there are no reservations, the seats are uncomfortable, the chefs take the order and all staff must have tattoos (I may have made that last one up, but it seemed to apply quite well).

The name of the restaurant is intended to reflect the shared culture of India and the UK, and presumably either dyslexia or the lack of a spell-checker from the owners, Rik Campbell and Will Bowlby, who were friends in college. The latter worked for two years as a chef in India at a place called the Cheval Bar and restaurant in Mumbai. Mr Campbell worked for Deloitte Touche and I gather that a second site is already planned, with possible international roll out of the concept on the horizon. In charge of the kitchen at this service was sous chef Jamal, who had previously been a sous chef at Cinnamon Kitchen near Liverpool Street for five years. The ground floor has bar seats arrayed around a counter where the chefs work in an open kitchen, as well as a couple of tables. Downstairs there are three communal tables.

There was a brief wine list of two-dozen labels, with no vintages listed because, well, that would require a modicum of effort. The list ranged in price from £22 to £65, with bottles such as Vinemind Clare Valley Riesling at £39 compared to its retail price of £16, and Ministry of Clouds Shiraz at £46 for a bottle that will set you back £26 in a shop.

Bhel puri is a classic Indian street food dish. The version here has raw mango in addition to the usual components of sev, yoghurt and tamarind chutney. It was excellent, the balance of the sweetness of the tamarind and the gentle acidity of the mango spot on, the blend of textures working well (14/20). On the side a Malabar paratha was fairly plain and had very good texture (13/20).

Lasooni scallop, Goan sausage, poha (a snack made with flattened rice) and seaweed was a decent (but not diver caught) scallop, served in a scallop shell with strands of seaweed and a barely noticeable sausage element. There was also lime, and something went badly wrong with the one I was initially served, as there was way too much lime added, crushing all other flavours. A replacement version was absolutely fine, the scallop properly cooked, the citrus just enough to balance the inherent sweetness of the scallop. There was also a little garlic (which is what “lasooni” means rather than, as confidently but erroneously explained by one of the staff: “a place in India”). Personally I am not sure what the seaweed really added, but once the citrus problem had been fixed this was a nice enough dish (12/20). Keralan fried chicken came with curry leaf mayonnaise and pickled mooli (radish). The chicken was harmless enough but I liked both the mayonnaise and the discs of pickled radish, which both combined to lift the flavour of the fried chicken (13/20).

My chef/waiter was Italian, a handsome Italian from Modena with a nice line in poetic language: “London, she is like a lover; you try to leave her and she pulls you back.” The staff I encountered all seemed enthusiastic and were helpful. One thing to bear in mind is that everything arrives at random, so I had just begun to eat my cold dish of bhel poori when the hot bread arrived, followed rapidly by the fried chicken and finally the scallop. I find this a bit irritating, as you are somehow supposed to wolf all this down at once. I understand why it is good for the restaurant: they don’t have to worry about pesky disk sequencing, and the diner is out of the door quicker freeing up the seat, but I don’t find it very hospitable. The bill came to £23 with just water to drink. If you had wine and a dessert then it would be bit more, perhaps £45 or so. The food, initial scallop aside, was actually quite good at Kricket, and as long as you don’t mind the oh-so-fashionable tics and all the dishes being put in front of you at once then this is a pleasant enough experience.

 

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  • Mayochup.co.uk

    We do love independent restaurants and this is just another that we have to visit. Thank you for bringing it to our attention

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