Kricket

Address: 41-43 Atlantic Road, SW9 8JL

Website: kricket.co.uk/brixton/

Telephone: 020 3826 4090

Opening Hours:

Tues-Thu 5:00pm-10:30pm

Fri & Sat 12pm-10:30pm

Sun & Mon – closed

Kricket has come a long way from the premises in Pop Brixton and we have reviewed it a couple of times (see here and here). We often find it hard to get a table, so we advise booking or going very early. We have complained in the past about the sound level in the main dining room. So we were delighted to be able to sit at a table in the bar, which is less crowded and you can have a reasonable conversation with your companion without getting a sore throat.

Food is not the usual small plates and big plates malarkey but vegetarian, fish, meat and sundries. So we didn’t order fish – seemed simpler to say that and although we were determined on dessert, we never got that far.

Our first was a favourite when they were in Pop Brixton – a Bel Puri – raw mango, tamarind, sev and yogurt. Sev is the crunchy chick pea noodles that are flavoured with turmeric and other spices. It is the sort of thing you get in “bombay mix”. As it is a favourite we were not let down. The size of the portion though was a surprise and from this point onward we knew we had ordered too much for two people.

Next was another favourite and a staple of this restaurant – Samphire Pakoras – fried with samphire with chilli garlic mayo, date and tamarind chutney. This was mostly a success as the samphire can be a bit prickly and we did find a few sticks among the salty greenery. Again a huge portion – plenty for four as a starter.

We always order Tarka Daal – on this menu it is described as – Burnt Garlic Tarka Dal. Sometimes it is too bland, sometimes too watery…. but this time it was perfect – clearly the baby bear’s choice. Choose it from the Sides menu. It was thick and very garlicky and a joy to eat and ….if I haven’t said this before, a largish portion for a “side”. We ordered two parathas to eat it with – on the suggestion of the waitress we didn’t over order these as they do go dry and biscuitty.

We were hungry when we sat down so we also ordered Pork Cheek Vinadloo with fennel, date & pork skin chaat. This was after agreeing with the waitress that it was more like the Goan version than the “blow-the-top-off-male-bravado” type. The fennel added crispness to the soft meat. I tend to steer away from pork because it is so often over-cooked but this was really good. There were some hefty bits of pork scratchings in the mix so beware of your teeth. Perhaps they might scrunch it up a bit more.

Pilau rice – too often a funny colour and overly flavoured but in this case it was again….perfect.

We washed everything down with a fresh lime soda – sweety and salty and their signature cocktail – Dark Matter (green chilli rum, mango, pink peppercorns). Both delicious and although I approve of no straws the Dark Matter ice cubes made my top lip go numb. We followed this with a couple of beers.

The bill with services and everything thrown in was £69.98 but the food was £20 per person and that could have been less if we had worked out portions. We were so used to small plates – don’t make the same mistake. Service was delightful.

Karakana

Address: 443 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8LN

https://www.karakana.co.uk/

A new Indian – or not so Indian – restaurant opened in Brixton in the same building as Market Place. Tim Anderson (Masterchef winner) and Rivaaj Maharaj (both in Nanban – see here for a review) are behind this new venture which provides Indian inspired food with a twist. The inside has changed since it’s reincarnation. The music is the not-too-loud kind so you can have a conversation and you sit opposite each other in booths with high backs (potentially Covid-19 proofing). There is a large centre bar that mixes lovely sounding cocktails like – Apricot Rose and a Pino Co-Lassi – that have sweet ingredients that make them more like desserts and they do go down easily. Below see the Apricot Rose and their signature cocktail Karakana (vodka, amaretto, lassi, mango puree and crushed pistachio – at least three of your five-a-day).

The menu is as it says on the tin – eclectic with small plates, big plates and tandoori and a very small dessert list (ice cream), so just choose another cocktail. Vegetarian is marked on the menu and some vegan options can be made to order. Some dishes look nothing like an Indian – Fish and chips and Currywurst, but a closer look at the ingredients shows them to have an Indian twist.

We chose potato salad chaat (with celery, shallots, lime dressing, coriander, peanuts and tamarind sauce) and lotus blossom onion bhaji with spiced yoghurt dip. The salad was crunchy and pretty heavy so do share and the onion bhaji was a whole onion shaped like a lotus blossom and was, as it should be, crispy and great with the dip. There were three of us and the final person chose from the tandoor menu – the Methi Miso Salmon (eclectic!) that came in a fenugreek and miso glaze with tandoori broccoli (although we thought they switched it on the night). The salmon was soft and definitely cooked well with a slippery caramelised outside. What was described as tandoor broccoli split the table – it was very hot, spicy and crunchy so a good foil for the salmon, but it looked innocuous and it definitely was not. Some liked it and others just wanted a health warning on the heat.

We followed this with choices from the large plates – Mutton bourgignon curry, Madrasi Machli and Aubergine Karahi Parmigiano (!). We complemented these with a couple of bowls of steamed rice, and a naan and roti.

The mutton was in a really rich sauce – it was the leg slowly braised in red wine with carrots, potatoes and picked onion. It was spicy, but not so you couldn’t savour the taste of the lamb. The Madras Machli was actually salmon curry simmered in the “house blend of spices from Southern India” – so giving nothing away. The salmon can be easily overpowered by a curry – this wasn’t and I definitely admire the chef’s delicacy with whatever those South Indians use.

The Aubergine was exactly as you might imagine – breaded and fried in a tomato sauce and topped with parmigiano. But the menu description left off any reference to spices and they were there in abundance in the breading and in the tomato sauce. It was how I like this dish, crispy pieces of aubergine with soft insides, any blandness being banished by the tomato sauce.

The menu notes only one dessert, but when we decided to order and discovered that it was in short supply so we had a couple of Hokey Pokey ice creams and a Masala Chai. They come as two large scoops, so plan to ask for a scoop of each and share – it was a labour we endured so that we covered the whole menu, but we were really too full to finish.

We have noticed blogs and comments suggesting this is an expensive meal, but actually we thought it was reasonable. You can cut down on the many courses and the cocktails (£9.50 or so each). We had two cocktails and 2.5 pints of tiger or Coldharbour beer. The total came to a whopping £95.50 with tip, but after removing everything but the food it was £18.25 per head. We will go back as the menu definitely peaked our interest, but this time knowing that unless very hungry we will try to share some dishes.

India Week – in Lockdown

Although you can now visit outdoor restaurants it is chilly and rainy for May. So, as we head towards indoor eating, we decided to focus our weekly food on India. Or, more accurately, our interpretation of Indian cuisine based on that staple recipe, “whatever’s left in the fridge, with spices”. I hope that explains what we have here with two types of roast cabbage, plus a mixed vegetable curry. In truth, this approach became the theme of the week.

Then another vegetable curry. It might look the same as yesterday but this one had mushrooms, aurbergine, more spinach and lots of chillies. It came with a dhal, but we forgot to take a photograph.

We always cook more potatoes than we need so the remaining ones were spiced up and with added coriander and a relatively short memory it was a “bit different from yesterday. For this dish we added one of our home grown chillis (surprisingly easy to keep alive) and we also added tamerind.

Finally we had spicy lentil and tomato soup, using leftover dhal as the base with the addition of what were rapidly becoming time-expired tomatoes.

Dishoom (our inspiration this week) was wonderful but expensive, so this week’s options were a balance. Not all vegan but all vegetarian and definitely an introduction to those “layered” flavours, as they say on Great British Menu.

Kricket – the Lockdown 2.0 takeaway

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Website: https://kricket.co.uk/brixton/

Phone: 020 3826 4090

Email; hello@kricket.co.uk

Deliveroo: https://deliveroo.co.uk/brands/kricket

We reviewed Kricket when it was in Pop Brixton and when it moved to larger premises (reviews here and here). We liked both incarnations and decided that we should have a delivery to celebrate Diwali in our household bubble. As this is a celebration we pushed the boat out. Note that the delivery is via Deliveroo and comes from a kitchen in Clapham, rather than the Brixton restaurant in Atlantic Road.

The menu on Deliveroo is not as extensive as it was in the restaurant, but we know kulfi probably doesn’t travel. There are four starters and we ordered the Keralan chicken (2 portions – what were we thinking) and the Bhel Puri. For mains we ordered one for each member of the party – Welsh Lamb Korma, Hyderbadi Aubergine and Butternut Squash. We also added aubergine bharta, tarka dal, steamed rice, a couple of malabar parathas (we should have ordered more), and some condiments (sweet raita, mooli pickles, and tamarind and date). We supplemented the condiments with some of our own bought from Tooting when we went to buy sweets.

Clearly even at this point we knew we had over-ordered. But we know we can put the rest in the fridge for lunch the next day.

The Bhel Puri (crispy bits, raw mango, tamarind, yoghurt), was a favourite for all three of us. The crispy Keralan chicken is best eaten quickly as it dries out, but two portions was one and a half too many. Think KFC with more than a touch of salt and you have it. It was lovely which is good, because it is for Monday night’s tea.kricket13

The mains were fantastic in terms of the flavours. Often Indian takeaways seem to be one sauce with bits added but these were all distinct. The Butternut Squash comes with a makhani sauce, paneer, hazelnut, puffed wild rice. We would have liked a bit more butternut squash but the sauce was fragrant and silky smooth as it should be. The Hyderabadi Aubergine coconut, curry leaf, peanuts masala is soft and nutty. The warmth of this dish just increases with each mouthful, but never overwhelms. The Welsh Lamb Korma is so well cooked and so unlike many dry, chewy dishes we have eaten from other restaurants. We can recommend all three.kricket14

The sides we very important -we should have ordered more especially the parathas as they were just right for scooping up the sauces. The aubergine bharta was also a favourite – it comes with real heat but not the type of heat to make you sweat. All the condiments were interesting and we have some of the tamarind and date to go with tonight’s Keralan chicken.kricket12

img_38883We will definitely order again but perhaps not so much of the Keralan Chicken. This is an expensive meal if you are not planning to use it up for lunches – at £82.00 plus a tip. This was for three of us without the beer – Cobra and Kingfisher – bought from a local shop. We completed the blow-out with the Indian sweets from Tooting, as there is always space for a small dessert.

Indian Food for Diwali

Tonight is Diwali, the festival of light for Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, but we can all join in. So here’s a short round-up of the local south Asian restaurants that we’ve reviewed, where you can order food for delivery. Then just light some candles.

Bombay Kitchen – see review here.

Website: https://www.bombay-kitchen.co.uk/

En Root – see review here.

Website: https://www.enrootldn.co.uk/

Beb’s Kitchen – see review here.

Website: https://goo.gl/maps/oPTGNrnJayj

Khan’s of Brixton – see review here.

Website: http://www.khansbrixton.co.uk/

Kricket – see review here.

Website: https://kricket.co.uk/brixton/

Booma – see review here.

Website: http://booma-brixton.co.uk/

Bombay Kitchen – the takeaway

Address: 48 New Park Road, Brixton, London, SW2 4UN

Phone: 020 8678 1760/020 3645 3742

Website: https://www.bombay-kitchen.co.uk/

We were craving something a bit spicy and if you choose the best hygiene standards on Deliveroo and ask for a nearby curry, you come to Bombay Kitchen. It’s at the top of Brixton Hill, tucked way in New Park Road. And apologies for the pictures below being a little wobbly, but we were a good way through the meal before we thought about taking the photos.

The menu is enormous, which usually puts us off. But we have never tried this establishment before, so as a service to you the reader, we ranged widely. We ended up with: a Tandoori Mixed Grill, Chicken Tikka Massala, Tarka Dhal, Brinjai Bhaji (aubergine), Pilau Rice, two Naans, and two Plain Papadums.

Needless to say we had some left over (see picture below), which was plenty for a subsequent lunch. The empty box is the aubergine dish, reflecting the fact that it was the tastiest. We also enjoyed the dhal, but the chicken in the masala sauce was really tough and its vibrancy would put anyone off. And while the meat in the mixed grill was tasty, any grilling that had been applied was lost under the vegetables. The papadoms were broken when they arrived, but were absolutely fine and the second naan – well we are going to have that as a novel form of toastie with this lot in it.

There was nothing offensive about this meal, but we did have to add salt and we should have been braver and gone for more chilli hotness. So it’s buyer beware – this is anglicised fare, even though the recipes come from all over Indian subcontinent. So take courage – when they say mild they mean it.

The total cost was nearly £50 with the tip, so not a cheap Friday night, although we are still eating it on the Wednesday.

En Root – plant powered goodness – restaurant delivery

Address: 5 Ascot Parade, Clapham Park Road, SW4 7EY
Tel: 020 8001 6603

Email: enrotldn@gmail.com
Website : https://www.enrootldn.co.uk/
Instagram/Facebook: @enrootldn

Open for delivery orders: Thursday to Saturday – Noon to 9:00 pm.

Today we tried a home delivery of their ready meals. This follows the delivery of a box of fresh fruit and vegetables (see review here) that we agreed was a great success. They offer Indian inspired food that includes gluten free and vegan options and and is all veggie. And we agree with the claim that this is definitely “plant powered goodness” with “Indian fusion, international confusion”. Continue reading

Beb’s Kitchen

Address: 126 Acre Ln, Brixton, London SW2 5RJ

Phone: 074 4882 8139

Google Maps Link: https://goo.gl/maps/oPTGNrnJayj

Opening hours: ring for details

This restaurant is closed in the evening and we discovered the hard way that it is closed all day Monday as well. So we iterated to a Friday lunchtime and were surprised and very pleased we made the effort. It’s a bit hidden behind the bus shelter half way along Acre Lane and is an Indian which serves Goanese food. So plenty of coconut, as well as the usual chili and coriander. We only went in for a snack but ended up with a feast. Continue reading

A short bus ride away – Zumbura

Address: 36a Old Town, Clapham, London SW4 0LB

Website: http://zumbura.com/

Phone: 0207 720 7902

Opening times:
Sunday to Wednesday  –  6:00-10:00pm
Thursday to Saturday  – 6:00-10:30pm

This is a highly recommended, well staffed Indian restaurant in Clapham which is an offshoot of Mum’s Kitchen. It is a small restaurant that is popular with bar and table service – book at busy times. Tables are small and for two or four, with a couple that can accommodate a larger group.

They claim to offer “light, fresh and healthy meals”, with no butter or cream, so there are several dishes described as vegan. The menu is split into small plates (pakora, chaat, samosa and masala calamari), braised and stewed dishes (curry, dopiaza, masala, muttar – all with meat or fish), grills, vegetables (bindi, daal, aubergine etc cooked in interesting ways) and bread and rice.

Brightly coloured and delightful pickles and mild tomato dip arrive on the table with some assorted poppadoms to start us off while considering the menu.zumbura06We chose Railway Lamb curry, which had lamb that was really well cooked and layers of flavour in the sauce. Ghuggni chickpeas (black chickpeas braised in onion and mango powder), which was not as spiced or flavoursome as we hoped, compared to the khatte baigan-aubergine (baby aubergines spiced with tamarind and cumin), which was a definite hit. Both these small plates were vegan dishes. Then we ordered the chicken biryani (braised basmati rice cooked with chicken morsels in aromatic spices and rose water). This was a disappointment – the chicken was dry and the rose flavour a bit overpowering. To finish off the main dishes we had a chapatti which lived up to its description of wholemeal unleavened bread by being pretty heavy.

To finish we ordered a p[istachio kulfi which comes on a stick and a gajjar ka halwa. The kulfi was great, the warm halwa an interesting very sweet dish that tasted of very little.

So the whole meal was a good experience. A short menu, interesting sounding sets of ingredients, but it fell a little below our expectations. We will certainly return, but we will try a few other places before returning. The bill was £59.06 including service with one strawberry cocktail and an alcoholic lime soda (at £7.00).

Khan’s of Brixton

Address:  24 Brixton Water Lane, London SW2 1PE

Telephone: 020 7326 4460

Booking on the website toohttp://www.khansbrixton.co.uk/

Opening times: 5:00 pm to Midnight, every day

We have been here often, over the years, (see here, here and here). Previous reviews have commented on how few people there were, so we were suprised at how busy it was, even if it was a Friday night. Boy was it busy, so remember to book in advance. It was fully booked upstairs, so we had to have a table downstairs (who knew), with a very noisy party of 20 men. It was hard to make conversation, even with the person sitting at your side.

sympearThe staff are really helpful, warned us about the noise, fed us plenty of poppadoms on the house and got our food as quickly as possible. It does not have a license, so bring your own or buy around the corner. There’s several places to get your booze but we had met up at the relatively new craft beer place, The Sympathetic Ear, on Tulse Hill. (That’s opposite Sainsbury’s, for those worried that it might be at the West Norwood end.) So we all had cans of the excellent Peckham Pils.

We chose mainly from the Khan’s specials, highly recommended part of the menu. But there was a lot to choose from, with starters covering all the usual fare – meat and vegetable pakoras, puris and samosas, kebabs and obviously onion bhaji. We ordered some onion bhajiis to stave off the hunger pangs and for mains we went rogue with butter chicken, chicken korna, chicken tikka bhuna and murchi lamb accompanied by plain naan and pilau rice. Our dishes may not be quite hot enough for the Friday night hardened chilli eater, but they were just right for us.

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The butter chicken was really a bit of a wash out. Although the chicken was soft to eat there really was too little spice. The korma was a step up but in my view the bhuna was the best. The spice with the tomato and onion was a big step up and, although without too much heat, the dish was at least a few different textures. The lamb got a favourable reception as well – well cooked and not tough and gristly. The naan was hot and light and the rice was very well balanced – not too much salt or coriander but enough to detect.

The bill for four of us came to around £70, so it’s still good value. We will be back, but just not on a Friday night. For our Friday night curry fix we will probably just order the takeaway from their website.