What I look for in a good Indian restaurant is well-spiced curries, for the food to not be swimming in oil, Ravi Shankar playing in the background and for the interior to have flock wallpaper and psychedelic carpet. OK, I joke about the last three, but seriously, it’s easy to find an Indian, but really hard to find a good one. I’d been hearing great things about an Indian Street Kitchen called Roti Chai, but just hadn’t got around to dining there. So when I received an invite to check out its relatively new Monday Supper Club, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.
Roti Chai is located in a back street behind Oxford Street’s Marks and Spencer. It’s spread out over two floors. The upper level is an all-day café style ‘Street Kitchen’ serving snack type dishes like chicken lollipops, bhel puri and mini kebab burgers. The lower ground ‘Dining Room’ mostly serves curry based dishes and is only open in the evenings. The look here is industrial urban and a tad more formal but still very relaxed.
The weekly Supper Clubs are themed and held in the ‘Dining Room’. The theme is Republic Day when I go, which is one of the most important days in the Indian calendar marker, as it’s the day when India became a sovereign state. The menu for the night is designed to reflect the diversity of cultures across India and has a selection of dishes from across the many regions and states that make up the sub-continent.
I’m there with my vegetarian-during-the-week eating friend, Ian (he’s trying to eat less meat basically), who orders a ‘street food’ inspired Bombay Pav Bhaji – a veg dish with ‘Pav’ being an type of Indian bread. I go for Keralan Seafood Moilee. I love the look of the dish as soon as it arrives: prawns, scallops and fish (can’t remember what fish, soz) are sat on a bed of rice with a fragrant, delicately spiced coconut soup. The soup is light with a good chilli kick that doesn’t overpower the seafood. Ian’s dish is more rustic looking, which he must enjoy as he wolfs it down in no time.
Goan Pork Vinha D’Alhos
For mains, I opt for the Goan Pork Vinha D’Alhos (Vindaloo) and Ian breaks his ‘only eat-veg-during-the-week’ rule for the delicious sounding Kerala Fish Kari. My main is extremely good: succulent chunks of tender belly pork cooked in a not too spicy sauce that is nowhere near hot as hot as a standard Vindaloo, but this is anything but standard. I love the contemporary take with the addition of potatoes and pork scratchings giving the dish a lovely contrast of textures. I taste Ian’s fish which is excellent too. Both dishes come with a choice of roti bread or rice and Tarka Dhal.
Gajar Ka Halwa
To finish we have the Gajar Ka Halwa (a type of carrot fudge) and a Mango Kulfi. I’m not too keen on the Gajar Ka Halwa as it’s a bit stodgy and the flavours too subtle. The Mango Kulfi however is fab – smooth, creamy, light and a refreshing way to end a meal.
The Supper Club is a chance for the kitchen to show its creative side with one-off dishes, I highly recommend it. The food is well conceived and reasonably priced at £19 per person for two courses or £22 per person for three courses (not including drinks).
Food I Fancy dined as guests.
3 Portman Mews South,
London, W1H 6HS
Tel: 020 7408 0101