Today we’re heading into Soho on a crisp and chilly autumn day. I love this time of year – an excuse to get out all your winter gear you haven’t worn since last time and start to embrace the run up to Christmas – something London does spectacularly. Oh and it’s also an excuse to tuck into some warming, spicy dishes to add a bit of heat to your life. Which is exactly what we’re going to do at Soho Wala.
Soho Wala serves an enticing array of Indian street food. I love Indian food and am always impressed by its incredible diversity which was again highlighted today with this selection of dishes, many of which I had never heard of, let alone tasted.
We started with the first section on the menu (well, that’s logical isn’t it!?) – entitled Small Plates.
Three Small Plates
Our Pan Puri Wala was delivered in a sunshine yellow mini food cart. Pan puris are hollow, crispy snacks, in our case filled with a chickpea and potato mix and balancing on a shot glass. And in the glass? Water infused with chilli and tamarind. Wow! There are several ways to eat this show-stopping dish – we followed the recommendation to initially sip the water to establish the chilli level.
Slightly too spicy for me, with an instant fix on hand. Simply add some of the fresh minty sauce already delivered to the table. Heat adjusted I now went on to eat in the traditional way – simply pour the water into the little snack and into my mouth it went. Scrumptious.
On to the Mirchi Matchstick Chicken. Delicate chicken wings carefully prepared so they only had one bone in them (hence matchstick – get it?), coated in a spicy crumb and fried. I can only imagine how long it takes to prepare this dish but I’ve gotta say it’s worth it – the taste and texture made for the most moreish of morsels. I could eat a bucketload of them. Hold me back!
The Kurkure Bhaji is a mix of crispy lotus root and okra served in another cute little cart. I’ve never been a huge fan of okra (can pretty much take it or leave it) – this is one to take for sure! Topped with the crunchy lotus root crisps, it looks so pretty, too.
From the Clay Oven
Well, that’s quite some start and now it’s time to move on to the traditional clay oven. The Byadgi Murg is like a spicy chicken tikka – chilli marinated boneless chicken breasts. I don’t remember ever having tikka that looks and tastes so perfect. Soft, flavoursome and spicy with the crunch of pickled onion on the side.
The tender and spicy Gilafi kebab with its lime mince, mint, coriander and homemade gram masala had a real chilli hit.
Specials and curries
Our final selections came from the Specials and Curries sections. What a way to finish!
Starting with chilli and garlic butter naan. Beautifully light, piping hot and with a real garlic hit and a dusting of fresh green chillies.
I love a good dhal and this was the perfect Tadka Dhal. Yellow lentils with fried garlic and topped with coriander, so comforting and a great accompaniment for the naan.
I also love a biryani. This Lucknow Murgh Biryani is the Soho Wala version of the legendary Lucknow dish served topped with fresh mint and coriander. Rice has never tasted better and there’s succulently spicy chicken nestling down there among it.
Our delightful final combination of dishes had this cooling raita served alongside – topped with herbs and zesty pomegranate seeds. Quite lovely.
What a meal that was – I love Soho Wala – can you tell? This little restaurant just off Oxford Street is quirky and welcoming with great service. The food is inventive and served with style – I love the attention to detail and surprise elements in the plating. And of course it’s totally fabulous.
Today’s price point
Our substantial meal came to just over £50 for two.
Wine starts from £27.50 a bottle.
Soho Wala is at 21 Great Marlborough Street, Soho W1.