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3 Portman Mews South
It’s not easy to capture the exuberance of India in a mews behind Selfridges, but owner Rohit Chugh has a good go in his two-tiered Roti Chai. Head for the ground-floor Street Kitchen for good-value snacks and hubbub: you can expect industrial canteen interiors, close-packed tables, high decibels and trendy takes on the classics, from bhel-pooris and ‘railway’ curry to buns filled with spiced Elwy Valley lamb. It’s “fun and innovative”, but there’s also some real authenticity on show. Evenings see the moodily lit downstairs Dining Room come into its own and the kitchen ups the ante, delivering spirited chilli garlic prawns, more of that Welsh lamb cooked in the tandoor, Parsee-style chicken dhansak or South Indian fish kari. Service is game, but the frenetic pace of it all can cause problems. Note: prices above refer to the Dining Room.
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3 Portman Mews South
Marble Arch Tube Station 298m
Bond Street Tube Station 437m
Marks & Spencer (Marble Arch) 92m
Mon-Sat 12-10.30pm Sun 12.30-9pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
One perhaps ought to have been surprised or suspcious when a central London restaurant had free tables at short notice for lunch in the week prior to Christmas, and even more so when arriving in the very large room which comprises Roti Chai, that fewer than five tables were occupied. However, what is the rest of London's potential loss, was our gain and my dining comrade and I enjoyed a fine meal at a reasonable price. On the negative side, the room has a somewhat industrial feel to it (was it perhaps a gym in a former life, we speculated?) and we were placed unncessarily close to the serving area despite there being so many empty tables, but from there the expeience picked up. The staff were both friendly and effusive and the food excellent. Shared starters of chicken marinated with cardamom and black pepper, and spiced sweet potato cakes worked well. There was a full palette of flavours to enjoy, sweet and spicy, and the starters were sufficiently light to leave us energised for the mains. Roti Chai differentiates here by offering a thali-style presentation. In other words, one chooses a main and this is brought on a retro-style (to perhaps go with the overall ‘industrial’ feel) stainless steel tray along with starch (rice or naan), an excellent lentil dhal and some small vegetable sides. My comrade and I both struggled to finish our dishes. One notably interesting twist was to offer pork as one of the main options, a rarity in Indian restaurants, but one which my comrade tucked into with aplomb. To drink, we shared a carafe of a McLaren Vale Syrah-Viognier blend, with the addition of the white grape softening the red and creating a silky texture in the mouth alongside the food. That a wide range of wines are available by the carafe is another positive. For less than £80, we also found the experience good value. Let's hope they keep up this standard and that enough people come in order for the restaurant to remain viable.
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