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Wine & Dine
December 02, 2017

Foodies In London Are Being Bowled Over By This Chef’s India-Inspired Cuisine

Text by Nisha Paul

In conversation with British Chef Will Bowlby on his new restaurant Kricket

Nobody expects amazing dining off Piccadilly, but Kricket delivers upscale authentic Indian flavours while championing the best of British seasonal produce. Founded as a tiny 20-seater in a shipping container, the restaurant is a memoir of Chef Will Bowlby’s time spent working in Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda district. He is passionate about Indian cuisine and had trained under Chef Vivek Singh before opening this modern Indian parlour. Combining deft spicing and a seasonal approach to ingredients seems to be his skill. It is indeed wonderful to savour traditional Indian dishes prepared by a young English chef, who is keenly interested in the story behind each recipe and is writing a book on Indian regional cuisine. Hopes are high and the open-plan kitchen does deliver mouth-watering modern small plates to an interactive audience watching the kitchen theatrics across two floors. Celebrities visiting the venue include Michel Roux and Pierre Koffmann (a great compliment to have Michelin icons endorse it), the Cohen Brothers and Michael Fassbender.

Do start with the crispy bhel puri with raw mango and the finely shredded samphire pakoras served with a date and tamarind chutney. The latter is an exciting fusion take on the Chinese seaweed. For mains, tandoori monkfish with a semi-dry coconut coriander chutney (which is more like a relish) is succulent and tasty. In order to ignite the palate further, a must-try is the pumpkin makhani sauce with fresh paneer, hazelnut crumble which is served with puffed rice and the smoked aubergine sesame raita with papdi gathia and peanuts. Freshly baked kulchas with unusual toppings like green chili garlic and lardo compliment the meal. For nostalgic sweetness, try the misti doi with pomegranate, rose and pistachio, and shahi tukda buttermilk ice cream along with dulce de leche and fresh berries to mark the moment. Finish off lingering conversations as Indians do, while sipping on some warm masala chai.

Excerpts from a conversation with Chef Will Bowlby….

A favourite haunt in Mumbai was…the rooftop bar at the Sea Palace hotel in Colaba.

My travels across India took me to…Mumbai, Goa, Kerala, Delhi, Lucknow, Srinagar, Leh, Sikkim and Kolkata.

Indian recipes that inspired me most of all…goat raan, bhel puri, meen moilee.

My favourite restaurant in Mumbai is…Soam in South Mumbai.

An unforgettable memory in Mumbai…Ganapati celebrations! I couldn’t get home without wading through the crowds. And the noise!

You chose the name Kricket because…cricket is a sport that resonates with both England and India. We created cricket and they mastered it. We stuck a ‘k’ in front of it because we liked it visually and didn’t want people to get confused!

If you had to go for a meal in London it would be to…Barrafina.

Your cookbook on Indian cuisine is…due to be out next spring. I love reading food-history books of India. They are the basis of so much inspiration.

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