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Koolcha (Indian) – Box Park Wembley, London

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HALAL STATUS Fully Halal food menu • Alcohol served

Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Koolcha is Michelin-starred chef Rohit Ghai’s attempt at a move away from fancy gastronomy and towards the world of casual contemporary dining.

Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal restaurantHaving garnered rave reviews for his recently opened fine dining establishment Kutir in upmarket Chelsea, his latest venture attempts to attract the young and vibrant crowd of Boxpark in Wembley.

While Indian cuisine will again be at the heart of proceedings, Koolcha is concentrating on offering jazzed up street-style food.

And management has already confirmed with us: “All our lamb and chicken Halal. We always cook with care and there is no other  meat being served at KoolCha apart from Halal lamb and chicken.”

Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley HalalMore importantly perhaps, is that this latest addition to Boxpark brings, to our knowledge, the number of Halal options to an impressive eight so far.

The restaurant’s name is a play on the North Indian Kulcha flatbreads, with the 60-cover eatery offering plenty of seafood, meat and veggie options.

While alcohol is served on the premises, the bar is literally located around the corner to the dining area extending towards the back of the venue.

The place itself is thoughtfully designed too, with clever use of soft lighting that manages to maintain the dusky ambience of the pop-up mall while at the same time helping to enhance the restaurant’s elegant decor and dark earthy tones.

Note also that Koolcha does add a 10% discretionary service charge to the bill.

DRINKS

MocktailsIced TeaLassi
Drinks Beverages Mocktails Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

(Left-right) Navya – Mandarin juice, lemon sherbet, ginger beer; Mel – Mint syrup, lime sherbet, elderflower tonic; Funtoos – Orange puree, agave and lime sherbet, grapefruit tonic – £4.00 each

The simple appearance of these mocktails betrays the thought put and precision required in putting these together.

The Mel had us enthralled right off the bat, with the dominant tangy lime sherbet combining beautifully with the cool mint to deliver a tantilisingly refreshing drink of zesty tones.

Arguably the most interesting was the Navya. A mature beverage whose clever make up allowed for the warmth of the ginger to tenderly linger at the back of the palate only after the apparent sweetness of the mandarin gently gave way to the distant aftertaste of the lemon sherbet.

As for the Funtoos, then this citrusy affair will have you pleasantly squinting with every sip as your taste buds dance along to the beat of the sweet and sharply sour chords created by the orange, lime and grapefruit therein.

Drinks Beverages Mocktails Tea Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Kiwi; Strawberry – £3.50 each

And these fruit-flavoured iced teas were expertly done, with both coming through strongly enough, though without being overly sweet, to subtly mimic freshly made fruit juices.

As such, while there was plenty of well blended Kiwi to deliver on that unmistakable gloopy-cum-syrupy texture, it wasn’t too sweet, making this frothy-topped glass perfect in dampening the heat of some of the dishes had below.

As for the Strawberry, then this was again nicely blended, had plenty of ice, was strong in taste, and thus quite delicious.

Drinks Beverages Mocktails Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

(Left-right) Mango & Ginger Lassi; Standard; Mango – £3.50 each

The best thing about these lassis was the yoghurt used therein, which will immediately be recognised for its distinctly fresh-tasting milkiness by anyone who’s ever had the homemade variety.

Of the trio, the Mango & Ginger was easily the best, only because one could actually taste the mango, with the heat of the ginger barely discernible.

As for the stand alone Mango, then while it had a decent consistency, there wasn’t much mango to speak of.

But what really irked us was the lack of salt in the Standard version, which was doubly disappointing given how darn good that yoghurt was. In hindsight, perhaps the solution was to ask for a salt shaker!

SMALL PLATES

Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Bambaiya Ragda – Crispy potato cake, dry peas, tamarind & mint chutney, £6.00

A colourful bowl that looked more appetising than it turned out. Not only did we find the alleged “crispy” nature of this potato cake missing in action, but it was a little on the thick side, culminating in the entire thing being texturally one-dimensional, i.e. mushy.

And while the flavours were nice enough, meandering as they did between the sweetness of the tamarind to the freshness of the mint chutney, what this needed was some crunch to break things up.

Kebab Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Shami Kebab – Lamb mince, cilantro oil, radish, lentil, £8.00

kebab Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley HalalYou couldn’t get more traditionally made than this pair of Shami Kebabs accompanied with a mint sauce.

And while it was delicate enough, being ground three times over for good measure, it lacked a crispy exterior, was a tad friable, and erred a touch on the dry.

Nonethesless, it was a tasty one, though perhaps with the chef having been a little heavy with the garam masala.

As such, there was plenty of heat to this, and thus you may require plenty of the accompanying mint to help see yourself through this fiery duo.

Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Chowpati Vada Pao – Sesame seed, coconut, tamarind, green chilli, £5.00

Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley HalalWhen a vada pao is done well, it’s a delightful thing to have, particularly in a bun.

This Chowpati Vada Pao burger was simple enough, but packed quite a punch.

Nestled in between two toasted soft baps was, indeed, a vada (that’s ‘big’ in Punjabi) pao, which could have done with more of the tamarind sauce to compensate for its relatively dry nature. Nevertheless, it was the addition of those potent, and we do mean potent, green chillis that really brought this pao bun to life.

Despite the coconut, unsurprisingly, being lost in translation, this was still an enjoyable eat that’ll have your sinuses open in no time.

Prawns Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Ghati Masala Prawns – Pink prawns, tomato chutney, garlic, £8.00

The secret behind this busy-looking Ghati Masala Prawns is to have everything together; that includes a good squeeze of that lime, which’ll help cut through the strength of the semi-dry marination of the prawns.

As for the crustaceans, then these were beautifully cooked – soft with that touch of firmness. Meanwhile, the diced red onions helped add a sweet undertone, the coriander some herbiness, and the coconut not much else save extra texture.

Chicken Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Chicken Popcorn Masala – Fried chicken, curry leaf, black pepper, £7.00

A lot going on in this plate of Chicken Popcorn Masala. With the glistening nuggets of poultery being utterly tender and succulent, the marinade used was again a very strong one.

More enjoyable was the masala seasoning, which appeared to be crushed roasted peanuts, giving this dish an earthy aftertaste. But, perhaps a sauce might be in order to help dampen the heat of the spices.

Burger Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Chicken Tikka Slider, £6.00

And of all the small plates had, this Chicken Tikka Slider was the weakest of the bunch for us.

Let’s put it this way, as moist as the chicken was and as tasty as its light masala marination was, this mini burger, with its red onion ring and its single slice of tomato and cucumber, just cannot justify the six-quid price tag.

GRILLED SANDWICHES

Chicken Sandwich Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Chicken Tikka Masala, £8.00

RECOMMENDED

Truth be told, you’re better off paying an extra two pounds and going for this fabulous Chicken Sandwich Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley HalalChicken Tikka Masala sandwich, instead of the aforementioned slider.

What made this such a memorable one was the scrumptiously good flat naan. Light, crispy and golden, it contained plenty of strips of well marinated chicken, with a tasty masala kick, mixed in with crunchy onions, cucumbers and red peppers.

Definitely worth the order this!

LARGE PLATES

Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Chicken Combo Meal – Butter chicken, plain kulcha, pickle, raita, pulao, salad, £11.00

At just £11, we were looking forward to this Chicken Combo Meal, with butter chicken and plain kulcha, among other things.

Butter ChickenPlain KulchaPulaoPickleSaladRaita

Buttered Chicken Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

As always, the chicken was expertly done. Consistency-wise, it was smooth and creamy. In terms of taste, it was good for what it was – a tomato-based curry with a sweet edge.

And while it did have a streak of butter running through it, this served as more of a garnish than anything else. We expect our butter chicken to be unashamedly rich with plenty of butter. This wasn’t quite there.

roti Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

These beautiful plain kulcha slices had a good bite them. No fuss and jnicely done.

Rice Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

A small bowl of cumin-infused white rice, which, we think, was perhaps cooked in a gentle stock.

It did betray a slightly reheated quality, if we’re being honest. Plus, we would have expected more rice given the price.

Achar Pickle Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Oh yes! This was the most intriguing part of this platter if we’re being honest. A strong pickle which, believe it or not, had an almost wasabi-like taste to it.

Went really well with the rice and the kulcha, respectively.

Salad Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Customary salad that’s nice for cleansing the palate.

Yoghurt Raita Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

This raita was an excellent foil aaginst the fierceness of the pickle chutni, which, when had alternately, makes this platter a fairly enjoyable one.

CURRIES & BIRYANIS

Rice Biryani Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Lamb Biryani, £14.00

RECOMMENDED

There’s no doubt that this Lamb Biryani was up there with some of the best we’ve had. Wonderfully done in almost every way, with the spices judiciously balanced.

The fluffy rice was long grained and separate, with the classic masala evidently layered and mixed with fried onions that offered a light smoky edge.

And a very generous portion this was too, accompanied as it was with that authentic-tasting homemade yoghurt mentioned above. Recommended? You better believe it!

dal Lentils Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Dal Makhani, £6.00

With the smooth consistency of this Dal Makhani being spot on, this, like the butter chicken above, was tomato-based and lightly spiced. A decent enough lentil dish without being anything to light up the sky.

KOOLCHA MEALS

Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Keema Koolcha, £9.00

Cooking this leavened koolcha flatbread on a hot tawa, or cast iron pan, really did do the trick in caramelising the butter used to achieve a lightly crispy exterior.

The mince filling was ground down finely and gently spiced, and was accompanied by both the wasabi-like flavoured pickle achar mentioned above, as well as a bowl of yoghurt.

Had altogether, this was certainly one of the better keema-based chapatis we’ve had.

DESSERTS

Rasmalai Dessert Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Rasmalai, £5.00

This Rasmalai could have been so much more than what it was, particularly given how deliciously light and delicate the porous ball was.

And while it was properly saturated, we found it disappointing that the milky infusion only ever threatened to come through.

Desserts Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Kulfi Falooda, £6.00

Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley HalalOn the other hand, this coming together of two worlds really did impress. Not only were the classic flavours of rose water and sweet milk apparent and distinct, but the texture of both the kulfi-on-a-stick and the milky falooda concoction was perfectly judged.

As such, while the former was soft, cold and creamy, with plenty of basil seeds poured over the top, the latter was silky smooth, with a rich malai-like taste to it, and had enough vermicelli at the bottom, all sprinkled with crushed pistachio nuts, to maintain more than just our interest.

Our only wish by the end was that the large glass in which this was served was, at the very least, half full with that sweet milky nectar. Easily one of the best we’ve had in quite a while.

Tea Koolcha Indian Boxpark Wembley Halal

Masalal Chai, £2.50

And after a long spicy meal, what better way of settling the ol’ stomach, than the soothing taste of Masala Chai.

In this case, while this was nicely made, it could have perhaps done with more of the masala coming through.

THE ROAR
Koolcha
3.5 FTL's Roar
4 Pride's Roar (4 Roars)
Alcohol/ Pork?
  • YES/ NO
FSA HYGIENE RATING
Last Checked: 08/04/19
Facilities
  • DISABLED FACILITIES
  • CHILD SEATING
  • FREE WI-FI
Summary
Koolcha is in competition with a number of Halal food vendors, eight to be exact (and not counting the rest of the non-Halal options), at Boxpark Wembley's hip and happening food mall. And because the venue isn't exactly the most obvious of places, located as it is a fair way from the main road and station, this means that Koolcha, itself located on the ground floor, is seeking to attract the attention of the majority young who frequent this place. A tough challenge!

With the knowledge of Michelin-starred chef Rohit Ghai being the man behind the menu, we did go in with high expectations, which probably contributed to the anticipointment we felt when all things were eaten and done. Nevertheless, the food was, by and large, well executed, with definite signs of precision, craft and attention to detail.

As for dishes to look out for, then these would be... well, just check out our recommended menu below.

Note also that Koolcha does add a 10% discretionary service charge to the bill.

Menu Recommendation

Drink - Mel

Starter - Chowpati Vada Pao

Main - Lamb Biryani

Dessert - Kulfi Falooda

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Koolcha
Boxpark Wembley, 18 Olympic Way, Wembley, London HA9 0JT.

T: +44 (0)20 3744 4436 | W: koolcha.co.uk

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 12:00–22:00 | Sun 12:00–21:00

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