Will Bowlby

Will Bowlby

Despite originally having no interest in returning to the UK to cook Indian food, Will realised there was a gap in the market, between the high street curry houses and the high-end restaurants. The idea for Kricket began to form, and when he teamed up with an old friend from university and now business partner Rik Campbell, they began looking for a site in London. Will also worked for a year at Cinnamon Kitchen under renowned Indian chef Vivek Singh, to get some proper experience and guidance on Indian cooking techniques and dishes. When they came across Pop Brixton in 2015, a collection of shipping containers perfect for pop-up restaurants, they knew they’d found the perfect sounding board for their idea.

‘We basically built the whole place ourselves, with just had two long tables enough for twenty covers and a tiny kitchen in the back,’ explains Will. ‘We had no idea what we were doing, but people seemed to really like it. We got good reviews and were always busy, and eventually we got the chance to open a permanent site in Soho, which has now become our flagship restaurant.’

The food at Kricket showcases the vast variety of food found throughout India – but by using seasonal British produce, Will and the team are able to add their own twists and adaptations to more traditional Indian dishes. One of their bestselling dishes is a samphire pakora, and the likes of goose vindaloo, celeriac chaat, tandoori poussin and butternut squash in makhani sauce show how British ingredients and Indian flavours come together in a contemporary, inventive menu.

Today, Kricket has three sites – the Soho flagship, a Brixton site under two railway arches and a restaurant at Television Centre in White City, which is the biggest. This growth happened pretty fast – Will wasn’t even thirty when White City opened in 2018. ‘We never really planned for this to happen – plans change all the time,’ he says. ‘For example, we were looking at opening a Kricket in Amsterdam at the beginning of 2020, but of course that didn’t happen because of the pandemic; we ended up going into delivery instead. We’re conscious of not growing too quickly and we never want to lose what makes our current restaurants a success, but I think there’s plenty of opportunity to bring what we do to places other than London in the future.’

Today, that middle ground between old-school curry house and Michelin-starred Indian restaurant has more to offer – the likes of Dishoom, Gunpowder, Brigadiers and Bombay Bustle all offer their own interesting and delicious takes on Indian cuisine. But Kricket stands out from the crowd by being inventive, playful, accessible and educational all at once. Anglo-Indian food is nothing new; chicken tikka masala being the perfect example. But the food at Kricket heralds a new way of combining the two, with an emphasis on showcasing the different regional cuisines of India in the process.