We’re taking a mini break from VeganMoFo to bring you this restaurant review! When you’re vegan, out in the burbs and hungry for some Indian food, hopefully there’s a Choolaah Indian BBQ nearby!
Before I continue with this post, I have to give a shout-out to Eric Belfi, aka Philly Vegan Guy, for allowing me to tag-along with him and his wife, Karen, on this opportunity to check out Choolaah Indian BBQ. Eric was invited by the kind PR folks, supporting the business, to check out their new spot in King of Prussia. Eric was able to get us to join him. Sadly, Carlo couldn’t make it. Don’t worry, I made sure to take plenty of photos for him to drool over.
Now onto the review…
Choolaah Indian BBQ is an innovative concept. It’s a 21st-century take on Northern Indian tandoor cooking with a fast food spin. Having locations in VA and OH, it’s nice to see a lovely addition to the Philly burbs in King of Prussia, PA, located in the King of Prussia Town Center. Even better, Choolah is chock full of vegan options!
Vegan items are marked with “VE” on the menu. You can find them in BBQ Meals, Greens (salads & lettuce wraps), Tandoor Wraps, Masala Bowls and specialty items (i.e. Biryani). You can even get veganized naan by selecting the Whole Wheat Naan as your bread option. If you didn’t know, traditional naan contains dairy. So, it’s nice to see a chain that is mindful of vegans and delivering the goods!
On this outing, the three of us shared a 2 BBQ Meals, a Tandoor Wrap and an order of Samosas.
Tofu & Veggies BBQ Meal
BBQ Meals are really a combo. You pick your bread (Vegans go for the whole wheat naan!), a masala (sauce/beans) and a rice.
For the Tofu & Veggies BBQ Meal, we got the whole wheat naan (again, vegan), yellow lentil dal and white basmati rice. The tofu was from SoyBoy out of Rochester, NY. The veggies were tandoor spiced and grilled red onions, red bell pepper, zucchini and cauliflower. So much flavor just in the veggies, but when you put it together with the yellow dal and rice, it was delicious…I mean surprisingly good. It’s not something you’d expect from a fast food restaurant. You can really taste each ingredient and the flavor profile was spot on. If you add a little Choolah Fire or Lava, depending on your heat tolerance, it just made the tastes pop even more.
Veggie Croquettes BBQ Meal
Yeah we went with another combo, because when in KOP… lol
This meal included the veggie croquettes with chickpea masala (in photo of wrap) and brown basmati rice. We got samosas as an extra side, not a part of the combo.
The croquettes were awesome. They were crispy, not greasy or oily, with a lot of flavor. These were the highlight of the entire meal for me. Too bad, we had to share these!! They go great with Choolah’s Tamarind Apple and Spicy Mango sauces.
The chickpea masala was another highlight for me. They made for a perfect add-on to this meal. Pour it over the croquettes and rice, and it would be total comfort in a bowl.
Cauliflower & Chickpea Wrap
This is the only vegan wrap on the menu, and that doesn’t bother me. Wrapped in whole wheat naan, it was a sold filling meal all on its own. Roasted cauliflower with chickpea masala, pickled onions and cabbage. It’s truly a meal to have on-the-go, filled with delicious herbs and spices.
I was really disappointed in the Samosas, as a side dish. The potato and pea filling was decent. However, the pastry crust wasn’t flaky. It was oily, dense and reminded me of par-baked pie dough. Basically, it was underdone and just didn’t make me think of it as samosas.
Rather than having sauce put on your food for you, you get to go to a sauce station and pick! Their vegan sauces are Spicy Mango, Tamarind Apple and their hot sauces Choolaah Fire and Choolaah Lava. All great for dipping with the whole wheat naan. My favorite was the Tamarind Apple, which was a nice sweet & sour sauce where you could taste both the tamarind and the apple! The mango was delicious. The hot sauces will sneak up on you. The Lava is the spicier of the two, but they each have their own kick, yet not unbearable.
Drink-wise, we went for unsweetened iced tea, which was available in plain and herbal. The herbal definitely was a hibiscus blend, which was great! Sadly, there were no vegan lassis on the menu. Lassi is a traditional yogurt drink blended with water, spices and other yumminess, like fruit. As conscientious Choolaah Indian BBQ is to its vegetarian and vegan customers, I beg that they please please please offer vegan lassis on their menu soon!
What makes Choolaah even more special is the decor. It’s bright and airy. You can watch your food being made in tandoor ovens (each one has a name!) behind glass. Everything it out on the open, which I appreciate! Not to the mention, the street art flair really drew me in. From spices set in some of the tables and the floor to the color mosaics and paintings, it made fast, casual dining a relaxing experience.
To top it all off, there’s an electric handwasher in the middle of the floor for people to use. Place your hands inside and the washer runs for a few seconds. Pretty cool!
I don’t get to King of Prussia often, but at least I know when I’m in the area, Choolaah Indian BBQ is there for me with top vegan options! Now to get me to be a “Raving Fan,” just add a vegan lassi on the menu, and tighten up that samosas! I promise to make an extra trip to KOP just for both!
BONUS: If you live or work in the area, and are short on time, Choolaah Indian BBQ offers online ordering for pick-up on their site, choolaah.com!
Want to see what Eric thought of our meal, check out his review at Philly Vegan Guy!