The model in which ‘Wokaholic’ works suits best the fast paced urban working population, you can easily fill your tummy and while doing so you need not sit at any place to have your meal. They serve amazing on-the-go meals in bento boxes which you can grab and run. And more importantly they give you the freedom to personalize your meal, you need not settle for some ingredient which you really don’t like. You choose each and every ingredient, the sauces, the kind of noodles or rice, the protein, the veggies, etc and you kinda create your unique taste for your meal. This place is a self service joint and offers fast food cuisine which can very well be termed as comfort food, primarily focusing on oriental cuisine. It has a limited menu from which people can order or get their wok boxes prepared. It involves much less table service compared to many other joints. It truly can be termed as a Quick Service Restaurant (QSR), though I must say they have got nice no-frill neat interiors with lovely wall art showing the Kolkata skyline and iconic elements of the city. Wokaholic is one well organized destination for people looking out for a fulfilling meal, but something not very elaborate. I really love this concept of serving an entire meal in a small bento box. It will give you one balanced fulfilling meal of carbs, proteins, etc that too in one single box. It instills a sense of urgency in the meal which is also a symbol of the active urban life.
I would like to thank Srivar Harlalka, one of the four young proprietors of Wokaholic for having me over to his place for the food tasting session. I almost breezed in and out for this food tasting session, they really take very little time to prepare the food and surely the quality and flavors are amazing! So, let us now check out the items which I had tried at this place!
I tried three starters at this place, they were Vietnamese Grilled Eggplant, Wok Fiery Paneer and Honey Sesame Chicken. Vietnamese Grilled Eggplant was surely a revolutionary dish from my point of view. Frankly speaking I am not a great fan of eggplants but I really loved the flavors of this dish, the kick of spice in every bite made it taste amazing! Here the roasted eggplant was wok tossed with onions, red hot chilies and crushed peanuts.
Next came the Wok Fiery Paneer which had fresh and soft paneer pieces in it tossed with bell peppers and topped with chopped spring onions, overall the dish was way too spicy for my taste buds.
The Honey Sesame Chicken had bite sized chicken strips which were wok tossed with an amazing tangy sauce and a dose of honey in it. When served, it had sesame seeds sprinkled on top. Overall this is one ‘must try’ starter at this place which had the right balance of flavors and had the right mix of tanginess, spiciness and sweetness in it. Also I have heard their Katsu Chicken is really good, which I will surely try the next time I am there at Wokaholic.
Next we went on to try the Wok boxes, the USP of this joint. Here the meal is prepared in a wok and put straight into the bento boxes, which you can grab and make a move. The price of a wok box depends on whether it is veg or non-veg. Then the rest is simply fun since there you go on to choose each and every ingredient of your meal, maybe keeping in mind their nutrient value as well! Here are the steps to choose your ingredients:
Step 1 – Choose one base (variants of noodles, rice)
Step 2 – Choose one protein, additional proteins can be chosen with extra bucks (egg, chicken, shrimps, paneer, etc)
Step 3 – Choose up to five veggies (like broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, etc)
Step 4 – Choose one sauce (like tom yum, hunan, massaman, chilli basil, etc)
Step 5 – Choose up to three add-ons (like fried onions, lemon wedges, fresh red chillies, etc)
Once you choose all your ingredients, your order gets placed and then it takes really little time for them to put all of those together and to get your meal prepared.
I tried total three wok boxes, they had the below combinations:
- Brown rice in Aromatic Thai herb, chicken, shrimps, mushrooms, baby corn – This was really lovely mainly because of the ingredients, though I feel if the brown rice was replaced by plain white rice then it would have tasted better, the stuff was tad oily which I feel can be looked into and reduced.
- Flat noodles in Massaman Sauce, chicken, shrimps, bell peppers, mushrooms, spring onions, fried garlic – This was one real gem. The massaman sauce did the entire trick and it tasted really awesome. It was thick and tad heavy to consume, though the flavors somehow made us finish the wok box in no time. The ingredients were very well tossed and the blend was awesome with loads of aroma and richness in there. This is one awesome combination to try out, though I feel you can replace the fried garlic with something else since it is tad sticky which you might not like.
- Egg Noodles in Tom Yum Sauce, Chicken, shrimps, zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, diced onions, fried garlic – This was probably the best combination we ordered for, even tad better than the massaman one. Though I found the noodles were broken in to smaller pieces which can really be avoided. The lovely flavor and aroma of the Tom yum sauce was perfect to go with shrimps, chicken and mushroom! Do try out this combination if you are ordering for your wok box!
Overall, I feel Wokaholic is doing a great job and they are only trying to help this busy crowd and trying to make them more efficient. I would love to see them open up more outlets in the city, especially in the business hubs. In fact I have heard they will open up their next outlet at New Alipore area which would be again a boon for the city dwellers! I would urge you to give them a visit and try out these starters and filling wok boxes. So let us just go through my 10-pointer recap before wrapping up!
Where: 8/1 Loudon Street, near Shakespeare Sarani police station
When: Noon to midnight
Meal for two: Rs 500 approx
Plus point: Wok boxes, quick service, good quality and quantity, reasonable price
Improvements: Larger seating capacity, more menu options
My Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Verdict: Perfect for busy urban life, worth trying out the wok boxes!