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ROTI CHAI, MARBLE ARCH | katemeout

The Hype

It’s meant to be high quality authentic Indian cooking,in a retro looking café “inspired by India’s street cart vendors” with brand signage all over the walls to give it that ‘Slumdog’ feel. As a colleague said “what’s great is that,you can feel like you’re being edgy and eating streetfood,but you don’t,you know,actually have to eat on the street.”

The Food

To eat somewhere new,the team has to sacrifice ‘Burrito Friday’ so we do tend to be quite picky. The Tarka Dhal,pea and potato Samosas and Railway Lamb Curry were all delicious. The Tikki Wala mini burgers,and the Gobi Manchurian were just OK. Like The London Eater,we didn’t find the description “Indio-Chinese classic from the Hakka region” particularly enlightening and the bi-line descriptions weren’t always enough to feel confident in a decison. We shared a few starters and sides and had a main each and it came to about £12 each (with soft drinks) which seems eminently reasonable (if not quite ‘street kart’ prices.)

The Fun

They’ve put quite a lot of effort into the vintage Indian signage and it is cool. As a former Vespa owner I loved the use of scooter lights on one wall and there are quite a few touches like that if you look for them – they even sell some authentic Indian sweets and snacks for extra impact. The décor and menu is different on all the floors,so definitely worth exploring a bit if you go.

Overall Experience

Curry is usually too heavy for lunch,so Roti Chai is a brand new ‘genre’ of lunch that we can now add to our office armoury. I can imagine if I’d had a few Friday night drinks nearby I might get a sudden craving for the Tarka Dhal in future.

Go there if…

You’re looking for somewhere a bit different for lunch and don’t want anything too filling or formal. It is quite handily located just off Oxford Street between Marble Arch and Bond Street,and is a bit hard to find so you can give the impression of knowing about a secret gem to your companion.

Don’t go there if….

You’re looking for super authentic Indian streetfood in a super authentic Indian streetfood environment. Or are a suit having a business lunch.

If you’re pretending to have been there don’t forget to mention…

The chicken lollipops looked amazing but we refused to order them because they “didn’t sound authentic enough”. This was a mistake. Oh,and FYI ‘gobi’ means cauliflower.

For more detail

There’s some brilliant,and far superior write-ups available from andmorefood,laymytable,foodacrossborders,and Kaye Holland.

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