3 October 2018: Kricket - Not bowled over
Not reknowned for Indian fare, I was happy to see a new Indian restaurant open up in central Brixton. Better still, friends had recommended it and invited me along to check it out. Not as happy to be the fifth wheel on a double date, but needs must and of course tasting curry is more important than my feelings.
I joined Johannes, a veteran of the blog, and his wife Sarah, along with Ange and Nate. The latter, our first overseas contributor, had come all the way from Canada to see what it was all aboot.
Did Kricket hit us for six? Read on to find out.
Kricket is found under the railway arches along Brixton's Atlantic Road; the very same aged brickwork that houses the ever popular Brixton Village. Having previously held residency at Pop Brixton around the corner, Kricket is now a permanent feature alongside a number of other new developments in the locale (just don't mention gentrification).
Floor to ceiling glass fills the archways and gives passers by a tempting view into the trendy, mood lit interior. Inside is a minimalist, almost 70s living-room style space, with faux marble cork board walls and lamps and ferns in the corners. The ceilings are more peculiar, lined with terracotta coloured, corrugated metal that would be more at home in an air raid shelter; the rumble of occasional trains overhead adding to this impression.
Stylish and chic it's 7/10 for Venue.
Starters and sides
2 x Samphire pakora
The menu here is fairly limited to just eleven small plates, but they offer a good range. Either way sharing is on the cards and that's what we did.
Kicking things off with a crunch was the samphire (sea asparagus) pakora. A delicious alternative to bhajis, these deep fried bites come with a lovely tamarind sauce that completes a great starter. Also hitting all the right notes was the bhel puri, a traditional Indian street food favourite. Kricket's version is a solid one with equally generous helpings of tangy tamarind sauce and yoghurt.
The one bread available here is the malabar paratha, the name denoting nothing special, but it was served piping hot with typically fluffy layers; a decent offering. Fans of this should visit Roti King in Euston.
A notable mention should also be given to the own-branded Kricket lager on draught and the delicious house red that contribute to making it a good showing for Starters and sides here.
Keralan fried chicken
Pig head vindaloo
The 'main' dishes on offer here aren't really curries, but each gives a nod to either an Indian classic or regional favourite. Having said that the combinations, whilst palate pleasing feel slightly odd.
The keralan fried chicken was first to raise eyebrows with the south west region not famed for finger lickin' goodness. However, the batter had a lovely salty hit and in combination with a curry leaf and pickled mooli topping provided a pretty mouth watering bite.
Even less convincing was the pig head vindaloo. Indian food is not reknowned for housing pork, so this dish - a sort of pulled pork cake - was a bit surprising and underwhelming, despite a lovely arthichoke puree side. With very little heat in the dish, the vindaloo is a little baffling and small crackling pieces on top also left us a little confused, mistaking them for bone initially!
The aubergine bharta - a punjabi dish similar to baba ganoush, was more popular amongst my fellow diners but didn't blow me away. A dish served cold with yoghurt, promegranate and mint topping, it was tasty, but not as good as a similar dish from, the now sadly closed, Kabul Darbar.
The pick of the bunch was probably the macher johl - cornish cod on a fennel flavoured bed of onion and tomato that housed a deep smokey heat. The cod itself was perfectly cooked, with a lovely salty hit received from it's crispy skin, just watch out for the rogue cardamon! Sadly though,the cod wasn't enough to sway me from a slightly critical 6/10 for the mains. Whilst all were tasty, I was expecting more.
As this is a small plates restaurant, expect the dishes to be served one by one. Regardless of this, the service here is pretty prompt and comes with a friendly smile. The mood-lighting is a little too much on the dark side for my tastes, but otherwise little else to complain about.
Value for money
The total came to about £30 a head including a couple of drinks and service. Not bad given that the cost of small plates can start to add up but sharing is the key. With decent drinks and good quality food it's a solid 7/10 for Value.
Whilst I'm slightly biased against small plates and more modern Indian cuisine in general, the likes of Hoppers proves it can be a success. Kricket is trendy and tasty, but left me a little underwhelmed. All in all some nice touches, but the overall experience didn't bowl me over.
It's 34/50 in total.
Address: 41-43 Atlantic Rd, Brixton, London SW9 8JL
Cuisine: Indian small plates
Alcohol Policy: Licensed
Summary: Chic, Indian small plates restaurant under the railway arches in Brixton