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Model Market Traders#2: Rola Wala

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  • I’m a bit of an entrepreneur by nature. I’d been working in advertising for seven years and had started looking for something else to do. I went on a big trip to India and experienced all kinds of different cuisine out there. Fresh flavours - not the kind of stuff you’d get in a Balti curry house on Brick Lane.  It was one of those big holidays where you’re dreading going back to work and then you decide not to go back to work! I locked myself in my kitchen for a month and the result was some very different Indian food.
     
  • I’m not a chef by trade and I’ve never cooked Indian food before so it was a bit of a trial really. Luckily I had a few chef mates teach me the ropes.
     
  • Rola Wala means ‘band of rolls’ in Hindi. The whole concept is that a band goes from place to place like us; we capture the flavours of India and put them in one roll.
     
  • Our aim is to put a fresh spin on Indian food. A lamb rogan josh is a very fatty, oily curry. We barbecue our lamb so it’s not oily and add coriander, pickled onions and different chutneys so the essential flavours are still there. 
     
  • We started out doing rolls and we’ve now developed a slider selection. This works really well in the night markets, as you don’t want to fill up on one thing when you’re drinking cocktails and eating street food.  
 
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  • I’ve heard that people from south east London like their food hot, so if that’s true, they should try a pinch of Moruga scorpion chillli powder on top of our Goan pulled pork sliders, because it tastes amazing and it’s seriously hot!
     
  • When you start a business like this you put your heart and soul into it. The hardest part so far has been doing everything myself but that’s also been the most rewarding. Every part of the process has been my decision. There are lots of people who have helped me get where I am, but the buck stops with me.
     
  • I haven’t yet failed the Indian grandmother test. I get a lot of Indian grandmothers walking past the stand, doing a double take and thinking ‘this isn’t Indian!’ I always ask them to try our food and haven’t failed to win them over yet. Rola Wala isn’t about authentic Indian or drawing from Indian heritage, it’s about the authenticity of the flavours I’ve experienced in India.

@rolawala

Top photo by The Gaztronome

Model Market is open every Friday and Saturday 20/21 June to 26/27 September, from 6pm-1am. Click here for more details. 


 

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