If you’ve read my blog before you might have noticed one popular cuisine curiously missing from my reviews, Indian food. I’m not against eating Indian food but I rarely have the opportunity and even rarer do I decide to go for an Indian after years of having my taste buds desensitised by bland Indian takeaways. So after being “queued out” by another restaurant serving food from the Indian subcontinent we made a beeline to this popular Indian eatery where the smell of Indian spices were wafting through the door. This had to be good, right?
Being pretty much an alien to Indian food I let my expert companion, in comparison, order the Aloo Papri Chaat. Firstly I didn’t expect it to be cold and secondly I didn’t expect it to be absolutely smothered in yoghurt. It is what it says on the tin but in vastly different proportions from what I expected. I couldn’t taste much else but yoghurt in this, the chutney doing little to adding an extra dimension.
The Chicken Lollipops, which I had no idea were of Indian/Chinese origin, were nicely crispy and had a hint of spice. I’m baffled as to the ingredients in the fluorescent green dipping sauce but I could have done without it.
The more recognisably Indian dish was the Railway Lamb Curry but this was in fact the most forgettable. The meat was ok, but on the whole the dish was indistinguishable to any other bland Indian curry I’ve had before.
One of the more precarious offerings from Roti Chai are their buns. The Bun Chilli Chicken was sadly the weakest link of the night. The brioche bun was light and mildly sweet but the filling was rather lifeless and the sweet dipping sauce was equally forgettable.
Generally the food was serviceable nothing was bad, though pretty much everything I had was indistinct. But whilst the food was ok I had two problems with Roti Chai. First, I find it hard to understand why a restaurant chooses to separate their dining space into two different menus when one is far less popular than the other. Getting a seat at their Street Kitchen means waiting more than half an hour on a weekday night at the bar downstairs. Here you get a perfect view of a half empty dining room. Why aren’t we seated then? You might ask. Well that’s because they serve different food!
Secondly our waitress kept on asking us whether we were finished when dishes were half full, this seriously bugs me because I can’t leave a plate unfinished! The lack of authenticity also annoyed my “expert” companion.
Overall Roti Chai serve Indian street food with a bit of a twist, though mostly unmemorable. I wouldn’t mind eating here again but I’d definitely not queue for it.
Address: 3 Portman Mews, London, W1H 6AY
Telephone: 0207 408 0101
Mind The Gap:
Street Kitchen: Mon – Sat: 12pm – 10.30pm
Sun: 12.30pm – 9pm
Dining Room: Mon – Sat: 5pm – 10.30pm
Panda ate, shot and left.