Kricket founders to launch first bar

Will Bowlby and Rik Campbell, the duo behind the Indian-inspired restaurant group Kricket, are excited to launch their first bar, Soma, in London's Soho this September.

The pair first launched Kricket six years ago as a pop-up in a small shipping container at Pop Brixton and have since launched three permanent Kricket sites in Brixton, Soho and White City.

Named after the Hindu Moon God, Soma will serve up drinks influenced by the Indian subcontinent and neighbouring countries into the small hours.

Driven by both the popularity of Kricket’s cocktails and their enthusiasm for London’s bar culture, Will and Rik see Soma as a modern and minimalistic take on the basement speakeasy.

Taking over the site adjacent to Kricket’s Soho restaurant on Denman Street, formerly a subterranean club and karaoke den, Soma will be open until 3am, Tuesday to Saturday. Embracing the Soho spontaneity that the pair are so fond of, the bar will be dominated by walk-ins, though some tables for 6 guests or more will be available to book.

Devising the menu is Kricket’s Head of Beverage, Will Rogers, and Soma Bar Manager, Angelos Bafas, previously of Aqua Shard and ranking in the Top 5 Bartenders in the world*, in collaboration with Zoe Burgess from Atelier Pip.

Both share a ‘less is more’ ethos, letting seasonal ingredients and high quality spirits and spices take centre stage. The team will serve up familiar cocktails, with a Soma twist inspired by the diverse flavours found across Indian cultures and beyond.

Drinks will include a Gooseberry Chaat Margarita, made with tequila, triple sec, homemade gooseberry cordial and a touch of chaat masala, Coconut and Jaggery Old Fashioned featuring bourbon, jaggery, toasted and desiccated coconut and Mace Bitters, and a savoury Pickled Mooli Martini with vodka, dry vermouth, lightly pickled mooli and fennel oil.

A short menu of Indian-accented snacks will accompany such as homemade crackers, made using leftover rice from the restaurants, served with a yoghurt dip.

A 9-metre long hand-finished stainless steel bar, seating 23 guests, takes pride of place. An intimate lounge room, adjacent to the long bar, and with the potential to be closed off and made private, will have low tables and comfy burnt orange sofas - ideal for both groups and exclusive events.

Bowlby and Campbell said, “It feels great to be emerging from such a challenging period with a project that we’re so excited about. Central to Kricket’s growth over the last six years has been making sure that each restaurant is unique and perfectly suited to its location. In many ways our vision for Soma was driven by its address.

'People have always loved the cocktails we offer at Kricket and we’ve always talked about launching a standalone bar, but it’s the space that gives Soma its modern speakeasy feel, with a backstreet underground setting in Soho and seemingly non descript entrance.

'We see Soma as the latest addition to people’s Soho ‘stumblings’ and we can’t wait to offer the hospitality we’ve become known for at Kricket in a new context.”