A world away from the gregarious vibe and mashed-up streetwise interiors of the ground-floor Kitchen, Roti Chai’s attractively appointed downstairs Dining Room offers sultry exotic lighting, mirrors, latticework and a fair degree of intimacy. Charming, effusive and ‘knowledgeable’ staff are on hand to advise when it comes to the menu, which runs from small plates such as Bengali crab cakes or fiery Chennai-style chicken to bigger helpings of more esoteric regional specialities defined by pin-sharp spicing and a ‘full palette of flavours’. Awadhi lamb ‘qorma’ infused with rosewater and saffron or seafood ‘kari’ from the coastal city of Calicut vie with ‘notably interesting’ and unexpected pork dishes – all backed by steamed rice, dhal and flaky roti bread pointed up with orange and cumin. To drink there are chai cocktails and some creditable, spice-friendly wines by the carafe.
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