London: Loved every bite at Kricket Soho

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It feels like almost every day a new fun restaurant opens its doors in Soho. Maybe not quite, but I love how this part of London evolves quicker than the rest.

One of the latest additions to Soho’s Denman Street is the opening of Kricket Soho. Kricket started out in a shipping container in Brixton and created such a following with their trendy Indian dishes that they opened a proper restaurant in Soho.  My friend Felicity, and also my dinner companion this evening, has frequently visited the Brixton restaurant and so was my menu guide here.

Some dishes were completely new additions to the menu, which our waiter kindly highlighted for us. And when I queried if the Grüner Veltliner would work well with the food he poured us a taster so we could decide. And yes, the slightly fruity (but not sweet) Grüner Veltliner complimented the array of dishes perfectly.

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Our first dish of the evening, and a must for Felicity, was the bhel puri – one of their classics consisting of puffed rice, raw mango, tamarind, sev and yoghurt. Sublime!

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The Hyderabad baby aubergines with coconut and curry leaves we had next were nice, but lacked a little oomph compared to the other dishes, we thought.

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The Lasooni scallop with goan sausage, poha and seaweed (we had one each) were really nice! Perfectly cooked, the roe still attached and full of flavour.

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Next we had another seafood dish; butter garlic crab with seaweed papad (papadums) which was also delicious. It was served warm but we still had some left towards the end of the meal and it was just as nice cold.

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The kathi roll with duck leg was utterly moreish and perfectly paired with the peanut chutney and pickled cucumber.

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Although it may not look that special, this kulcha bread with bone marrow and cep was amazing!

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The last dish we had were these grilled lamb chops that we could see on the pass when we arrived and I knew straight away from the smell that they would be delicious. They certainly were and the two sauces; yoghurt with black stone flower and wild garlic chutney were lovely too!

Although using lots of Indian flavours and ingredients there is definitely an element of cross-over here, by using wild garlic and creating dishes full of flavour but not too spicy. I’m sold! And will be back shortly. Probably with Felicity as we both loved it!

Kricket, 12 Denman Street, London W1D 7HH

Grilled aubergine with garlic, parsley and feta

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I made these in the week when it was my turn to host the book club, and they went down a treat. I just love soft aubergines in anything but pairing them with another favourite – feta –  is just heaven!

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You hardly need a recipe, but since Simon Hopkinson has already provided one, I have adapted it below.

This dish works both for lunch and dinner and would look great on a buffet too. It suits more casual gatherings, picnics or a more upscale dinner party. Meet the equivalent of your favourite LBD. Just dress it up or down to suit the occasion.

Grilled aubergine with garlic, parsley and feta, serves 4

Adapted from Simon Hopkinson’s recipe.

4 aubergines

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

 handful parsley, finely chopped

5-6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or coldpressed rapeseed oil)

a little salt, more black pepper

150 g feta

1 lemon, for serving

Turn the grill on high or the oven on 225-250C. 

Run a small, sharp knife round the top of the aubergine, 1cm/½in or so below the stalk and only just cutting through the skin; then make four evenly spaced, similarly shallow cuts, along the length of the aubergine right down to the end.

Grill the aubergines in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn them every 5-7 minutes if you use the grill. They’re done when they’re soft all the way through. 

Let them rest for 2 minutes. 

Peel the skin off the aubergines. Without cutting right through the stalk end, cut the aubergines in half lengthways and gently prise apart until you have two horizontal halves remaining attached at the top end. 

Mix garlic and parsley with olive oil and spoon over the aubergines. Add a little salt and plenty of black pepper. Crumble the feta on top and add some more oil if you like. Serve with lemon wedges. 

Aubergine gratin with mozzarella and pancetta

Before I made the absolutely gorgeous aubergine lasagne, I came up with this – its predecessor. And boy, this was good too! Can it be anything but delicious when combining aubergines with buffalo mozzarella and pancetta, I wonder? NO!

I really enjoyed this calorific dish, but on its own it was not enough. At least my body was craving carbs and not just salad. I would recommend perhaps a mixed bean salad, garlic bread or rice with this, although it is lovely on its own as well.

Aubergine gratin with pancetta and mozzarella, serves 2

2 aubergines

olive oil

100 g pancetta

400 g chopped tomatoes

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

plenty of Italian herbs

a pinch of brown sugar

salt, pepper

1 buffalo mozzarella

cheddar

Peel the aubergines and slice them lengthways. Fry them until soft in plenty of olive oil. Make a tomato sauce by letting chopped tomatoes, balsamic, sugar and herbs reduce. Fry the pancetta crisp and drain on kitchen towel. Slice the mozzarella. Pour some tomato sauce into a gratin dish, place a layer of aubergines at the bottom, then mozzarella and pancetta. Continue layering, topping it with tomato sauce and cheddar. Bake for 25 mins, 200 C.