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CODE meets Will Bowlby, Kricket

Published 4 November 2020

This week we speak to the founder of popular Indian restaurant group Kricket Will Bowlby. He shares how he came up with the idea for the restaurant whilst in Mumbai, keeping standards high across sites and the best piece of advice he’s been given in his career.

Tell us a bit more about Kricket for those that haven’t visited? 

Kricket is a group of modern Indian restaurants in London, serving food inspired by the subcontinent in a relaxed informal setting. We have restaurants in Soho, Brixton and White city each with a slightly individual approach to design and menus. 

And what kind of food can guests expect? 

Our food is inspired by working and traveling India, showcasing its vast range and diversity. We apply our knowledge of Indian food and combine it with the best quality local produce.  

How did you come up with the idea for Kricket?  

The idea behind the food was born whilst living and working in Mumbai. Witnessing real Indian food made me want to create something unique on my return to London. Rik and I have been friends since university and met up to discuss doing the project together. We opened our first restaurant in a shipping container in Brixton entirely on our own and haven’t looked back since! 

If you had to pick, what is your favourite dish on the menu?  

Because the menu is constantly changing, it tends to be whatever is new at the time. If I had to choose one dish though that I keep on having to try, its the tandoori lamb neck with aubergine bhartha in Soho.  

You recently hosted a guest chef series. Tell us a bit more about that? 

Every year in September we host guest chefs at our White city restaurant. For each evening we come up with a totally unique collaborative menu between myself and our visiting chefs. Last year we were fortunate to host 5 amazing chefs, and this year we had the brilliant Andrew Wong, Vivek Singh and Nuno Mendes. Profits of the nights go towards a charity we work closely with in Mumbai called Apne App Women’s collective, an organisation that empowers women and children in Mumbai’s red light district. I can’t wait for next years again, we already have one very exciting chef booked!  

What’s the proudest moment of your career so far? 

I don’t really have one definitive moment to speak of, and I see this business as such a work in progress that no matter what is going on around you, you must always keep working hard on improving things. I’m proud that we’ve held a Michelin Bib for the last three years, considering that is something I never really set out to do, but more importantly I’m particularly proud of our staff and the resilience they have shown in the last few months. The industry has been decimated, and we continue to fight to stay open, and I can’t help but be completely proud of the response from our team. Right now I’m more proud of Kricket and those that work for us than I’ve ever been.  

How do you ensure the standard is kept high across your three sites? 

Constantly going around sites, being involved in day to day operations, firming up back office necessaries and more importantly having strong head chefs and managers to make sure standards are kept up.  

How have you adapted your offering during and for the upcoming lockdown? 

We’ve launched a Kricket takeaway and delivery service, expanding our operations in South London and running it alongside restaurant service in White city. We’ve done collaborative meal kits with our butcher HG Walter and sold meal kits in shops in London. The projects have been really interesting and it’s been a good opportunity to try out new ideas.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?  

Learning as a young chef, I was always taught to work hard, keep my head down, and do everything that is required of you and more. I took that firmly on board in my first kitchen job and I believe that stood me in good stead for what happened next. I learnt a lot in my time working with Rowley Leigh.  

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