One remembers the 70’s. A time of flaired trousers, tank tops, platform shoes and flock paper in Indian restaurants. Alas and hurrah, those days have gone, the fashions of the 70’s are now curiosities in the Victoria and Albert clothing section and today’s Indian restaurants have moved on to become trendy eateries like Dishoom, Amaya and Roti Chai should be added to one’s list. Roti Chai made one’s hit after young Guiffart recommended it (the young whippersnapper is soon to be 30 years of age! Poor boy) ahem.. It is just a stone’s throw from Selfridges in Oxford Street. One attempted to go there on a whim a few weeks ago only to find it packed with trendy Londoners. There was a 45 minute wait. The Doctor does not queue! Harrumph.
Robert de La Daunce, the non-stop dancing fiend had suggested that we pay a visit and so we toddled off there with Mcweedle. Roti Chai is an Indian restaurant serving what is termed “Indian street food”. Not your usual fare then and so we were excited at what we might find. The aromas that assault you on entering the restaurant are stupendous. Superb spice smells waft around the room and make you giddy with desire. The upstairs room itself is functional rather than uber trendy. We were led downstairs where the restaurant had more of an up market feel and one could observe the chefs toiling away in the kitchen through an orange panel. The cocktail bar was attractively laid out and one found that it was not there as a gimmick. They really did make cocktails here, so after some debate one ordered a Manhattan which was rather unadventurous given that McWeedle ordered a pomegranate martini and Robert selected a mango and chilli concoction. All of which were pretty good and not outrageously priced. Well done chaps!
Our starters came. We shared chilli prawns of which there were five…so there was some discussion as to how these might be divided between three. Not being mathematicians we just all had two except for Robert! Spicy pulled pork came as two in chapatti-like wraps…another dilemma for the three of us. McWeedle had “Sixty Five” …something akin to crispy KFC chicken with Indian spices. All were very tasty and came with additional spicy dipping sauces. We nodded at each other in agreement. This was a good restaurant. Hurrah!
We debated what we should drink with our main course. Should we have beer? Surely wine would be smothered by the spice? One had heard that Gewürztraminer was a good option for Indian curry but then we wanted red wine..hmmm..merlot? But beer is surely de rigeur with curry? Isn’t it?… hmmm…We ordered a good bottle of St. Emilion. Smart choice.
Our main courses arrived. Two lamb and one tilapia (McWeedle wanted to eat something healthy). The portions were not large but one might say they were somewhat sparing in their generosity. The lamb was swimming in pureed spinach which was unfortunate as we had ordered a side of spinach and paneer (without the paneer!). We were drowning in puréed spinach. Popeye would have been proud. Surely the waiter might have warned us that we had ordered “death by spinach”? The lamb was good but there was not enough of it. Orange flavoured naan was a new concept to all of us and was tasty but we preferred the garlic naan. Alas, the curried tilapia was nothing special.
We looked at eachother as we ate and all exchanged the international facial language sign of “meh”. We were disappointed as it had all been going so swimmingly. We finished with double espressos which came on-the house (they forgot to bring them and we thought this was a nice gesture). We agreed that it was worth a return visit but our next sortie would be for steak and frites at our old favourite and the stomping ground of the EIC(don’t ask mes amis) …Bellamy’s which of course is in the Doctor’s top 10.
P.S. As a rider to this one also has to visit Red Fort as young McWeedle gives it a high recommendation! One will add to the Doctor’s wishlist!
3 Portman Mews South, London W1H 6HS
Tel: 020 7408 0101
Roti Chai Website