Oh Kricket, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… And at the Brixton branch of this cool modern Indian spot – the original was in a Pop Brixton container, and this second permanent branch follows a successful Soho spot – those ways are many.
There was the astounding house bhel puri: an Indian snack staple of puffed rice and crunchy chickpea noodles, here dolloped with yoghurt and strung through with the sweet tang of raw mango. A rustling, greaseless pile of samphire pakora, drizzled with sweet-sharp tamarind; and a couple of Goan sausage croquettes – dinky, porky grenades redolent of the best ’nduja. So it continued. A tiny dish of chopped raw bavette, zesty with green mango and stuck with little sails of fried lotus root, was the best riff on tartare we’ve eaten in eons. A larger plate of pulled pig’s head was gutsy as hell, the blindingly rich mix of meat and glutinous fat given a blast of vindaloo chilli heat. Best of all were some ludicrously tender nuggets of the signature Keralan fried chicken, the salt offset by slivers of pickled mooli.
Negatives were few and far between. But, in the name of constructive criticism, a subtly creamy dish of baby aubergine with grated coconut was a bit flat; objectively, the vindaloo was over-seasoned. But these are minor quibbles. The myriad killer dishes, affable staff and rumbling, terracotta-coloured arch setting make this one of the best spots in one of London’s go-to gastro postcodes.