Originally springing to life within a shipping container in Brixton, Kricket restaurant was started by Will Bowlby and Rik Campbell and is based around modern, seasonal plates of Indian food (signature dishes include Keralan fried chicken and sapphire pakoras). They quickly developed a fair bit of buzz around what they were doing and 2017 saw them launch their first permanent site in Soho (they are now up to 3 sites around London as of 2019). It seemed a natural choice to visit and understand what they were doing so well.

Bold, confident and energetic

It’s obvious as soon as you step inside that they have created an energetic, contemporary brand. The vibe is defiantly casual with minimal space for reservations and walk-ins very much encouraged.

Design-wise, it has a strength that matches the flavours of the food – bold, confident and deliberately avoiding anything too polished; the moody lighting, hacked off plaster and scrawled murals contrast with the relatively generous seats at the bar and high quality lava stone bar top. This gives off an impression that they really care about your experience, they want you to feel comfortable and well looked after but in an environment with some genuine attitude.

It’s generally very well done, although as with many restaurants it seems, the lighting in the toilet is distractingly bad – the use of a single spotlight to highlight the (slightly overpowering) incense holder is a nice touch, but some other lights so I can see myself in the mirror would be welcome. A small point in an otherwise well choreographed experience.

Relaxed hospitality

Our server had knowledgable confidence about him. I say server, as waiter doesn’t seem the right term. As I sat up at the counter looking into the open kitchen, he talked me through the menu and took my order from behind the counter. The service had that easy, relaxed feeling that only comes from a lot of practise and knowing the menu inside out.

The dishes I had were really very tasty. I probably made a bit of a mistake in ordering 2 dry dishes (which was thoughtfully pointed out to me in ordering, so added some dahl), although given their reputation for the Keralan fried chicken and samphire pakoras, I really felt I needed to try both. The fried samphire was a new one on me and very moreish, although a bit fiddly to eat. The fried chicken was predictably delicious. The dahl was actually a bit thin for my tastes.

Where they excel

Looking at the experience map, as with all types of restaurants with mainly walk-ins, the ability to continue the relationship digitally is not possible. Where they really excel is with the venue ambience, staff knowledge and having great reviews off the back of food that really delivers. The fact that the booking process is pretty limited and there was not really a goodbye format to speak of as I slunk out of the door, is not really a negative for them as this is not what they are about as a brand. Overall, you get a real sense that they know what they are about and are confident in what choices they make about customer experience off the back of that.

This post was written by David Chenery

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