We Don't Like Kricket, Oh No, We Love It
There was always a danger that POP Brixton, the relatively new ‘community campus for startups’ (yes really) made from shipping containers, was going to be awful. There’s that terrible Google-esque ‘we’re corporate but edgy’ language for a start, but there are also the inevitable comparisons. Boxpark in Shoreditch — again made from shipping containers — is just cynical and pointless, full of nonsense and sadness, by which we mean restaurants like Bukowski and Chop’d. There’s one of these arrangements in Elephant now too, which isn’t as bad as Boxpark, but then few things are. All of this makes it very surprising then, that POP Brixton is actually pretty good. There’s a New Zealand wine shop and bar downstairs (funded by a Kickstarter, it’s all about those startups), there’s very good pizza from Made of Dough, there's ‘que from Miss P’s BBQ, and there is Kricket.
The concept of ‘Indian small plates’ had the potential to be all style over substance, but it genuinely works in this setting. Eating in a shipping container with a few seats and bulbs inside it is about as casual as it gets in restaurant terms and so the sharing format is perfect. The food at Kricket unexpectedly arrives on lovely dishes though, and looking very pretty. Bits and bobs of green are strewn rather than sprinkled, sauces are artfully zig zagged rather than splodged. It’s not what you’d expect from a makeshift kitchen, basically, and it all adds up to feeling like very good value indeed.
One duff dish was a tangle of samphire pakoras; a lovely idea to fritter these crisp, salty coastal weeds but in reality the flavour was lost. Over multiple visits however we’ve enjoyed burning impatient mouths on Keralan fried chicken, crisp under a glistening flutter of curry leaves. We’ve crunched and slurped through sweet and sour bhel puri, broken up with soft, sunny chunks of mango, the tamarind and yoghurt mixing with crunchy sev. A recent seasonal dish of wood pigeon was smoky and soft like butter, perfectly cooked, served with glorious camel coloured chanterelles and a bold garlic pickle.
Speaking of bold, a dish of white crab meat in garlic butter left us in fear of speaking to others for the rest of the afternoon. The most expensive dish on the menu at £9, it was a generous portion of white meat that you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere for the same moolah.
As you can tell, we love the place. Admittedly, it feels slightly strange, perching high over Brixton market, peering down on the old, while munching on the prettily plated new. Brixton has absorbed POP admirably however, and there’s some genuinely fun stuff going on inside. We’re surprised, to say the very least.
Kricket, POP Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ
Last Updated 25 September 2015