ROLA WALA LEEDS: PUT DOWN THE POPADOM

Curries come in all shapes and sizes. Some are spicy, some are creamy, some you find in the morning half eaten in your bed after a heavy night down the pub. Recent surveys show Leeds’ attitudes towards curry are poor, and Indian street food experts Rola Wala are here to change that. We sent our Deputy Editor, Sam Johnson, along to investigate.

Polls show that Tikka Masala is the number one choice from Leeds eaters, with more than two thirds of those asked saying they’d not explored beyond the classic dish at all. A third also said that some curries were too spicy to even try, the same amount whose Indian food experiences restricted to Friday and Saturday nights in front of tragic telly, and wouldn’t even consider Indian food for lunch during the week.

This got the bods at Rola Wala thinking it’s time to shake things up a bit, and set themselves the task of changing perceptions of curry in Leeds. Out of this pledge, two new dishes were born.

Rola Wala literally means ‘the man that rolls’, and that’s what they do. Food here is either served rolled up tight into super fresh naans or in a bowl with rice. “It’s all about appreciating the ingredients,” says boss Mark Wright, whose journeys through Kolkata backstreets, Bombay beaches, and Keralan waterways have inspired the menus down to every single spice.

The new Nagaland Lamb takes inspiration from a region in the North East of India famous for it’s ‘Naga’ – one of the world’s hottest (yet sweet) chillies. The dish is a take on a lamb vindaloo but the heat is nothing mum can’t handle – sweetness from the chillies, mixed with mustard seeds, cumin and flavour from the slow cooked locally sourced British lamb creates the ultimate unique taste that Rola Wala strive to create.

If you’re a hashtag vegan, and you’ve built up a hearty appetite from telling the world about it, Rola Wala have you covered. The Keralan Cauliflower is packed with big nutritious fruits and vegetables, making it the perfect mix of sweet and spicy. We won’t give away the secrets, but pineapple, potato, coconut, chickpeas, coriander and numeric are just some on the long list of ingredients.

It must be said that I’d rather eat a fistful of shingle than put cauliflower rice anywhere near my mouth, even if it is 70% less calories than normal rice. With Rola Wala, you don’t need to be selective about what to eat when everything on the menu is really good for you. And that’s fine by me.

Rola Wala. Trinity Kitchen, Trinity Leeds, 27 Albion St, Leeds LS1 5ER. Open 9am-8pm daily, 11am-5pm Sunday. rolwala.com

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