Hey, Foodwala’s… Welcome to another trial and escapade of your truly, Alfie Foodwala
I was back in the big smoke of London once again with Larry Foodwala, we share many things in common, we are both restauranteurs, we love food and we love watches.
While we toured the watch houses of New Bond Street, admiring all beautiful baubles behind the armored window’s a similar window shopping story came to mind.
Cast your mind back to the bleak midwinter of 1969 and my grandfather decided it was cheaper to drive overland from Pakistan to Glasgow, so he trussed up his 1965 Mark 1 Ford Transit and set off for Glasgow with my Chacha Nasim Foodwala and Larry’s dad Anwar Foodwala, when they reached Istanbul the van broke down with a broken axle and had to be repaired, the repairs took all their spare cash and took 3 weeks to fix, as parts had to be brought in from England.
While Nasim and Anwar had plenty of time to explore they did not have money to eat more than one meal a day so they passed the time by touring the eating houses of Istiklal Caddesi peering into the steamed-up window and salivating at all the delicious street food until they were shooed away by irate owners.
It was ironic that 50 years later Larry and I were doing the same thing but instead of looking hungrily at piles of the delicious hot steamy mounds of food we were doing the same but with Rolex’s and Pateks and this time we could purchase as well as just salivate on the other side of the glass.
All this window shopping made us rather peckish and as an homage to my chacha and uncle, we decided to go to Soho Wala, who are purveyors of street food from the streets of Lahore and Bombay.
We kicked off the proceedings with steamed Chicken Momo’s, these are Nepalese steamed dumplings, stuffed with chicken and steamed in a flour shell, the momo was served in a steaming bamboo pot, however, these momos were premade and were dry and a little bit stodgy. not an auspicious start.
The Gulafi Kebab has its origins in the mountains of Anatolia and the recipe was given the Mogul Jahangir by the Turkish ruler as a peace offering, ideally the Gulafi kebab is tempered with finely chopped onions and bell peppers and the moisture then make the lamb kebab melt in the mouth, these kebabs were dry and tough, again i suspect they were premade and heated up.
The Rajasthani Lamb Laal Maas is supposed to be a deep, complex rich lamb stew, exuding fragrance and slow-cooked flavour, however, this tasted like a simple lamb curry served in curry shops the world over, so far 3 misses, things don’t look good for Soho Wala.
Next up was the delicious Keema Pao, this is a staple of the Bombay street food scene, The keema as spiced just right and the buttered brioche buns were moist, soft and delicious.
things were looking up!!
The chicken biryani was another hit, the chicken thigh pieces were soft and delicious and the biryani spices were deliciously balanced with the right amount of masalas, where no masala overpowered the other. overall the biryani was delicious and the pomegranate raita helped to add a coolness to the spices.
In conclusion, Soho Wala was a hit and miss affair, the Kebab, momo’s and Laal Maas were definitely a miss however the Keema Pao and biryani wes a hit.
It could be possible the time of day we visited or Soho Wala is situated in a hotel and could be that the food coming from the central kitchen had a distance to travel and went cold and dry in the service process.
The service in Soho Wala was friendly, if not a little unsure.
Soho Wala serves alcohol.
Chicken and Lamb were certified Halal by the management.