Within a naan’s hurl of Oxford Street, Roti Chai deserved more custom on a midweek lunchtime. Not that the lucky office workers (some Indian, most not) who had discovered it down this little mews street were complaining.
The ground-floor ‘street kitchen’, with its utilitarian furniture and canteen vibe, is ideal for a swift midday feed – and the alert young multinational staff keep things pacy. The menu is modelled on those of urban India’s snack shacks, so you’ll find bhel pooris, samosas and a big portion of moist, light Gujarati dhokra sponge, topped with two relishes: tangy tamarind and spicy coconut (share one between two for a starter).
Larger dishes include ‘railway lamb curry’ with beautifully tender meat and potato in a rich gravy spiced with star anise and cinnamon bark, served with two wholemeal chapatis. Soupy tarka dahl was similarly full-flavoured.
In the basement, the newly opened, evening-only ‘dining room’ is a darker, sexier space. Here, prices rise considerably, with chettinad chicken costing £15.50 – not that the street kitchen is giveaway-cheap. Dhokra, lamb curry, dahl and a pot of lovely, rich leaf tea cost £23 with service, but such a lunch would have workers singing through the afternoon.
|Venue name:||Roti Chai||Contact:|
3 Portman Mews South
|Opening hours:||Meals served noon-10.30pm Mon-Sat; 1-9pm Sun|
|Transport:||Marble Arch tube|
|Price:||Main courses £5.50-£8.50|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
3.5 / 5
- 5 star:8
- 4 star:5
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:2
- 1 star:4
Great tasting food and great prices. Stumbled across this place and thought I'd give it a try. It was the best decision I had made in a long time.
The staff are very friendly and helped with ordering. This was not the normal experience you get in an Indian restaurant.
I will be back very soon..
The quality vs value proposition is simply wrong. For example at £16.80 for the lamb main course I expect more than a few tiny morsels of overcooked lamb chunks with an ok sauce. Unfortunately the manageress did not take our feedback on board - her only response was to deduct the rice from the bill.
The place looks great, the wine was very nice. The food was ok, VERY overpriced for the quality and quantity. The service was some of the worst service I have ever experienced, had to repeat requests to several different waiters to get food or drink, but they were every quick to bring the bill. They also added 12.5% service. If I was not with friends I would have refused to pay and left them my address for them to sue me for the money. I would advice you to keep away from here.
It all started well. The menu looked good. The starter was good. We had to ask more than once to get the plates cleared and progress to the main course, but it was eventually served. After that the staff ignored us and did not respond even to semaphore. After a long time, we resorted to followinging the (manager?) around the room until we got her attention. She agreed that there was no reason why we could not have a dessert. After a long interval, our order was taken. The kitchen coped well with that, but the waiter lost the plot and wandered around offering it to other people until we intervened. Then we wanted to pay. We had to chase the (?manager) again. The waiter brought the bill and ran away. The (?manager) was in the kitchen now. In order to pay, we had to put our coats on and start to leave. The food was very good but the 12.5% service charge was baffling.
Went last night with a friend after reading various reviews, it did not dissapoint! Started with bhel puri, imli wings and chicken lollipops, the bhel puri was so tasty we ordered a second portion, the imli wings were spicy and delicious. The lollipops were a little dry for my liking so would probably not order again. I had the fish curry with light fluffy rice which was delicious and really tasted homemade, my friend had the lamb curry and said it was just like her mother's - what higher compliment could you have ;) we were too full to make it to puddings. The service was friendly and non-intrusive. We had a carafe of white wine with our meal and in total the bill came to £70 including 12.5% service charge.
Went for a lazy Saturday afternoon lunch a few weeks ago at the ground floor 'street' cafe which was fantastic. Food was quick, service friendly, and the tastes were amazing. However having since returned, I now have to recommend dinner in the basement where the setting and the food just make for a great evening (reasonable prices too). Along with the bread, rice and spinach based dishes, we had the overly-moreish Chicken 65, and also some tasty individual pork belly cubes which come with a small jug of (very delicate) vindaloo sauce. Yum. In fact so good that I will be hard pushed to try anything else on my next visit!
Went for a friend's birthday on a Friday night, the atmosphere was great early on, but there's a 12.5% service charge for every drink at the bar as well as at dinner - making a small bottle of Rose Lemonade £4. When we got to our table the service was awful, it took an hour to get a starter and 2.5 hours after we sat down we received our very small main course. Definitely not enough food and not enough choice for vegetarians. We complained about the service and the guy was really rude, trying to impress his manager rather than look after his customers. The bill was gigantic for a really disappointing night out that went on far too long, we couldn't leave until midnight! Food took that long. Much worse than a standard neighbourhood curry house and so overpriced. Would not recommend and will not be going back.
My wife & I visited Roti Chai a few days back for dinner. Frankly speaking, we were very dissatisfied with the service. I had made an advance booking through Opentable, requesting for a pastry / cake to commemorate my wedding anniversary. Just to make sure, I called up the restaurant beforehand and reminded them to include the cake in our dessert course. The receptionist assured me that it would be taken care of. When we arrived at the restaurant, we had to wait for 20 mins just for placing an order. Furthermore, the service staff conveniently forgot about the cake. Though the food was alright, the service really soured the experience for us. All in all, I would definitely not recommend this restaurant for any special occasions.
Been there with work mates and with friends a few times now. I always get a few favorites (chicken lollipops, dhal, mango kulfi) and try a few new things on the menu. The place is always buzzy and now I am glad it's open on sundays for brunch. While the food tastes authentic and delivers on the Indian Street food theme,( I've not been to India but it seems everyone agrees on its authenticity), I also appreciate the service, especially when I bring guests with prams. They seem to take everything in stride, with kiddies and parents trying to dine. All in all, a great addition to the casual dining scene.
Visited last night and was really disappointed. Food was below average and portion sizes very small. Baulked when i saw the bill, far too expensive! Definitely wont be recommending this to anyone
We ate downstairs in the dining room. Food was flavourful and well cooked. Service was fantastic! Only complaint is that the dishes were a bit pricey for the portion size... wasn't exorbitant, but definitely worthy of more than 1 £ sign above, which I think refers only to the 'street' kitchen upstairs. Overall I would recommend if you're in the area, though I'm sure more traditional/authentic Indian food can be had elsewhere.
Very good. So so much better than than regular Indian restaurants in London ( which are really giving Indian food a bad name)
Been once with a friend and will definitely be back. Food is great, staff friendly and knowledgeable. If you are in and around Oxford/Bond street and you want value for money combined with exquisite tasting food then here is an enticing option. If you work around here then there really is no decision to make. Get down there you will not be disappointed.
loved it. have been back three times to work my way through the menu. mostly hits on the food front but a coupl e of dishes that didnt work for me....ironically, they were the ones that my wife loved most. we both like the friendliness of the staff and the decor on the ground floor. Basement restaurant looks fabulous and i'm looking forward to when it opens
I thought Roti Chai was fabulous. Loud and noisy in the evening, I suspect but quieter in the day. The food bursts with flavour. Very attentive and helpful staff. And great value for the West End.
I'm suprised you would call this blatant absence of any thought behind the interiors "pared-back decor". I walked past Roti Chai the first time. And even when I turned around I was hesitant to walk in. A half-dressed table with bags of token Indian brand names, an empty reception desk and a wall sparsely decorated with more Indian stuff greeted me… am later told that they are trying to figure out how to sell Indian favourites like Frooti, Lays and Parle G. But until then these are for “display only”. Why a restaurant would want to display a constipation remedy (Isabgol) is anybody’s guess! Nothing about the restaurant says Indian, Street or Kitchen. Its deathly quiet and if it wasn’t for two other tables of people I would have walked out and come back another day. It’s a squareish dining room with nondescript tables, the odd splash of colourful backrests and an ugly ceiling. The kitchen is hidden behind a black wall and three uncoordinated posters. Change the three Indian posters with pictures of sombreros and this could easily turn into an ordinary Tex-Mex canteen. The chai (£2.20) I ordered is brewed one cup at a time and tastes very similar to the Twinings Chai in my larder. If you call yourself Roti Chai you better have very good chai – don’t you think? The menu is small – I like small menus. I ordered: Bhel Puri (£3.90) – light but slightly low on tang. This version has tomatoes… a giveaway that the chef is North Indian. Papri Chaat (£4.50) – nice! And miles better than the version served at Mooli’s. I wish though that it didn’t look so sterile on the plate. Chicken Lollipops (£4.80) – succulent and moreish. Just as the menu promises. Bun Kebab (£7.50) – the lamb is the best thing I tasted that afternoon. Moist and bursting with flavour (served with an unfortunate side salad). Green chillies & chopped onion – at £1 this is not expensive but if the vendor on the streets of Delhi has the heart to offer me onions on the house maybe Roti Chai could too? Mango Frooti (£1.50) – classic! This brought back memories of pocket money spent in school canteens. The food presentation is Western, bland and does no justice to the flavourful dishes. Everything I ordered tasted good and I’m sure as the kitchens spend more time cooking the menu the food is going to taste great. The service is excellent. Unfortunately Roti Chai’s under construction website has more character than the restaurant itself. Soft opening or not, you have only one chance to make a first impression…