Indian street food is having more than a moment in Brum- its having the time of its life. From Raja Monkey and Indian Brewery to Zindiya, Indian Streatery, Mowgli and Tamatanga– not to mention the plethora of desi pubs, this city has got it covered and it’s just the beginning…
Indian street food is championed and celebrated on Brum and Beyond on the regular because it never gets old. Give me a one page menu, a small selection of Indian staples with a twist and mango based bevs and I am living my best life. Fact.
Rola Wala started out as a street food venture in London markets, Kerb and Street Feast and then opened permanent residencies in street food centres and shopping centres in Leeds, Spitalfields and now Selfridges in Birmingham.
Based on the ground floor of Selfridges, Rola Wala takes prime position and is one of the first places you notice as you walk in. Think industrial vibes, metal, marble and neon lighting everywhere. You’re definitely aware you’re in Selfridges since you have to order at the counter but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The menu is simple, concise and very different to Indian Brewery, Indian Streatery, Zindiya et al and instead focuses on casual lunchtime bites as opposed to authentic and traditional fare like Pani Puri, Bhel Puri and Vada Pav. You build your own Naan Roll or Spice Bowl with a choice of three veg options like Sweet Potato and Chickpea or three non-veg options such as Chicken Tikka, Lamb and Beef. Not to mention, a variety of sides including Avo Chaat Salad, Cauliflower Popcorn and five sauces that increase in heat.
The ‘buid your own’ element and pricing structure lends itself well to the demographic who will most likely discover Rola Wala in Selfridges. The last thing you want is a full on, sit down meal in the middle of your imaginary Valentino shopping splurge- because who actually shops on the top floor of Selfridges, really.
We start with the slow cooked, almost pulled Nagaland Lamb Naan (£7.95) with Mint Lime & Pineapple sauce stuffed in a fresh naan. Its tasty, feels healthy and is a generous portion packed with spicy meat- no complaints. The sauce is lovely and fresh but I’d probably go for the hotter sauce next time.
We also sample the Bengali Spiced Beef bowl, made up of well marinated shredded brisket, almost crunchy red rice, sev and coriander. Colourful, delicious and would be a great little treat with the lamb. Get involved.
Sides include Kashmiri Cauliflower Popcorn which are spicy, crunchy, moreish bites of deliciousness and a great twist on this usually dull veg. The Red Chana Dal is a huge disappointment and lacks any sort of texture, with the coconut and beetroot making it taste so sweet I’d have no hesitations in spreading this on my morning bagel, rather than with my naan.
The Sourdough Naan is warm, light and smothered in the most divine Bombay Chutney and has me wondering why I don’t have this in other places. The Avo Chaat Salad adds a nice lightness to the meat dishes but as the Naan Roll and Bowl portions are so big, I’m not sure I’d order this again unless I was sharing it or eating in.
There’s a variety of drinks from beer to bottomless chai- uhhuhhhhhhh- and the Mango & Tumeric Soda which is spicy, yet sweet, yet spicy. Love.
And can I just shout out the Spice Cream Sandwich- think caramel, cheese cake, chai spice and brownie, all crammed together in the most cheeky sandwich I’ve had the pleasure of eating.
I enjoyed the food at Rola Wala and its a great little spot to grab lunch whilst out and about or if you want to reclaim your work lunch break and not spend your cash in Pret and YO! Sushi next door. Give it a go and if you care about social responsibility which you totally should- every meal you buy at Rola Wala, funds a school meal for a child in poverty which is just brilliant. Check it out: https://www.onefeedstwo.org.
*I was invited along to try the food and drink but didn’t have to write about it. As always, my opinions are my own*