Tuesday 24 April 2018

Food Review: Rola Wala, Selfridges Birmingham

Rola Wala is a small but perfectly formed collection of four restaurants across the UK. Offering Twisted Indian food, the Birmingham outpost opened a few months back in Selfridges, Bullring.

Started up by Mark Wright after a life changing trip to India, Rola Wala was set up with a mission to ignite spaces everywhere with incredible Indian flavours.

Taking my seat at the table with Ting and Tasha, both of whom are vegan, we were given a full run through of the menu, with detailed explanations of every ingredient and flavour in each dish, along with some bonus facts around the suppliers they use.

With a focus on serving up Indian dishes with a twist, the menu is simple and easy to use. Every dish is available as either a bowl or wrap, and can be served on its own or with two sides.

Since both my dining companions opted for the Saag Wala bowl, I went for the Paneer bowl as the naan wrap option is not suitable for Gluten Free diners. Marinated in masala mix for 12 hours, I expected to be served something full of flavour; I was not disappointed.

Saag Bowl and Wrap 

Every dish can be served as either a bowl or wrap, with two sides or without, with a choice of heat from mild (Pear and Tamarind, Mango Lime and Ginger and Mint Lime and Pineapple) to spicy Tomato and Naga Chilli, The Scorpion.

I picked the Chargrilled Paneer, Mango Lime and Ginger and we shared a selection of sides including the Avo Chaat Salad, Rola's String Fries, Kashmiri Cauliflower Popcorn, Red Channa Dal and the Sourdough Naan (I didn't eat the naan). The dish alone as a bowl or wrap is £6.95 or £10.95 with two sides. For the size of the portion, variety and freshness of the dish, this is a steal.

All of the dishes were gluten free when I visited when served as a bowl, as well as the sides apart from the naan bread, but please do check if you have any dietary requirements.

We were also able to try some of the drinks including the Mango and Turmeric Soda, which was actually lovely. The turmeric is not overpowering and the slightly sparkling finish made for a very refreshing choice.

Back to my bowl. The food arrived extremely quickly and looked like a visual feast. The bowl was full of different colours, tastes and textures, which means that not only does the food look great, but it tastes great too. With every bite, there was something different to uncover, whether that was the fresh coriander or smooth yoghurt.

The bowl itself contains not just chunky cubes of paneer, but also red rice (extra health points!), coriander, yoghurt, mango, lime and ginger dressing, pink pickled onion, carrot ribbons and crispy strings of chaat on top made with chickpea flour.

The portion was generous and very filling, meaning that you can go without sides if you're trying to be good and still leave the table satisfied.

I also love the fact that every dish is under 500 calories, great for anyone who's watching their weight but still wants to go out and try different dishes.

For anyone expecting a traditional curry, look away now because my bowl had very little in common with a traditional Indian meal. The flavours were so much fresher and cleaner, without any heavy frying or creams to add calories and weight to the dish.

I tried all the sides besides the naan, and my favourite was the Cauliflower Popcorn. Little bites of flavoursome cauliflower, I don't think I've ever eaten this vegetable in such a delicious guise. The chips were of course, tasty, whilst the two surprises for me were the Red Channa Dal and Avo Chaat Salad. The Red Channa Dal was creamy and smooth, but also sweet thanks to the unusual inclusion of sultanas. The Avo Chaat however was the opposite; light and fresh.

We were also able to try all the sauces, and as well as enjoying all the milder options, I did notice that the Tomato and Naga Chilli was spicy, but not overpoweringly so.

Would I come back again? Absolutely yes. The service was fantastic, very attentive but also down to earth, friendly and full of energy. As for the food, I really enjoyed the lighter Indian flavours. Fresh and spicy as you like, the food was still filling without being heavy.

Next time, I'll be going back for the Saag Bowl with fries and Popcorn Cauliflower. When it's this healthy, you can afford to be a little naughty.

*With thanks to Rola Wala for the complimentary meal

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