Roti Chai - Street Kitchen 1

Lower Ground Floor, 3 Portman Mews South , London, W1H 6AY

Roti Chai

SquareMeal Review of Roti Chai - Street Kitchen

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: price etc above refer to the Dining Room.

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6.4

Food & Drink: 6.6

Service: 6.6

Atmosphere: 5.9

Value: 5.5

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Joanna G. platinum reviewer 22 May 2017

I have walked passed this restaurant hundreds of times and for some reason never ventured inside, so when we found ourselves with no plans for lunch, we decided to give it a try. When we arrived at 12.25 on Sunday there was already a queue of around 8 people waiting at the door, which is always a good sign and within 30 minutes the place was packed full with people waiting at the front desk. We ate in the ground floor restaurant which is the street food menu (downstairs I believe has a different menu, but there was no one down there), upstairs is clearly the place to be for weekend lunch. There were around 4 waiting staff and approx. 50 covers, we were initially served by a lady who clearly did not want to be working there, I have rarely seen such a surly expression, but then thankfully after that we were served by a delightful lady who smiled and chatted and appeared to like her job, which is always a bonus. We shared the vegetable samosas which were accompanied with some delicious spicy chickpeas, pani puri (served with a jug of cumin water, which added a different dimension – mainly that as soon as bit into the puri, I squirted the sauce everywhere), one pulled chicken bun (OK, nothing special, very mild), the railway lamb and potato curry (nice heat, lamb falling apart nicely), chapatti and rice, which was plenty for us, although clearly we are complete lightweights compared to our fellow diners whose tables were groaning with colourful plates of food. We had two drinks each and the bill came to around £60 inc. service. Whilst this was a very enjoyable meal, and I would eat there again, given the choice I would head to Hoppers or Dishoom, where the food and service is just that little bit more special, for the same price.

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 1.0

Hugo S. bronze reviewer 11 April 2013

Had great expectations when I walked past this establishment a few months before it opened. This place was heaving at lunchtime. Lunched with 2 friends in the Indian Street Kitchen – my overall experience was just lukewarm.

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 1.0

Sarah D. bronze reviewer 19 March 2013

Went expecting something a bit different (Indian Tapas) and a twist on a favourite. The staff were friendly enough – but the food was way below par. If you are used to the real deal – and there are plenty of authentic indian restaurants in London to choose from – this is not it. Tourist food for beginners at best. A real shame. A great idea wasted.

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 0.0

Rina M. 06 January 2013

Well after so much hype we finally decided to go. Very excited we sat down and looked at the menu and I ordered the bhel puri and idli dossa my husband ordered the chicken wings and lamb curry. My bhel puri arrived first mouthful and I was in pain and scared as I could feel something very sharp cutting into my tongue. Yes it was a sharp hard piece of plastic thankfully I never swallowed it. Called for a waitress she came over we showed her and she took the bhel puri and sharp object away. Next thing our waiter came and asked if I would like another and I was very hesitant and scared as my tongue was badly cut. Anyway our whole experience was dreadful the food was awful and what was shocking was the manager never even bothered to come and apologise or even to see if I was ok. I never ate my main course as my tongue was badly hurt. We just asked for the bill paid £40 and got out of there. What a dreadful experience!!! They still charged us for the sharp object starter!!!

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Amjad G. bronze reviewer 11 December 2012

I've been to Roti Chai several times since it opened and the food never fails to disappoint! I've only dined in the less-formal, upstairs dining area and most always come away satisfied by the flavourful tastes that linger in my mouth long afterwards but also always bemoaning the small portions. A bill of £10+ for what amounts to a snack (idli-sambar) and tea is a far cry from the roadside dhabas on which this resto is based. Wonder if they can offer a better balance between price and quantity? Sadly, I will probably return again because the food is very tasty and…complain again becuase the portions are so small !

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

GH platinum reviewer 04 July 2012

Truly authentic Indian food. Best Papri Chat I had in London so far.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Helena T. 29 December 2011

I had received a recommendation to go here so I went looking for Roti Chai on one of the busy shopping days in the run up to Christmas. Despite its incredibly convenient location, the restaurant feels sufficiently tucked away to allow you to escape the chaos and bustle of Oxford Street. The staff were charming and knowledgable and we decided to simply follow the recommendations of our waiter as many of the dishes were unknown to us. This proved to be absolutely the right decision as we were brought a wide selection of dishes, all very different and all delicious, and many with flavours I don't think I have ever tasted before. The restaurant also looks incredible with a style that makes me think of an Indian version of the Mexican Wahaca. I would heartily recommend that visitors to Oxford Street resist the lure of the familiar chain restaurants in the area to go to Roti Chai where a ‘pot luck’ approach to the menu will be a refreshing and extremely tasty experience.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Food fiend platinum reviewer 28 December 2011

My sister had read that Roti Chai Street Kitchen had some good reviews and so given it was Boxing Day, and we were hitting the sales, we picked this place for some hot lunch (i was also armed with a bad cold and was in need of some decent spice!) Foodwise – everything was very good – the paneer was probably the best ive ever tasted – mainly because you tend to find paneer is often covered in a gloopy sauce in most indian restaurants, whereas this was deliciously spiced, but hot enough to make my nose stream (weirdly, just what i needed!). I also decided to have chicken samosas, which were good, and fresh – still samosas but something i will have again. We then ordered the lamb curry, which was very mild but tasty – together with the lamb burger. The burger was spiced well, and accompanied by the softest bread bun ever! Even me who was trying to do ‘no carbs’, found myself scoffing some of this! The meal came to £30 for 2 but we were nicely full. I agree with one of the other reviewers in that portions arent huge – but then id say if you are coming to the kitchen portion, youd be more likely to be wanting to have several small dishes and dip into each – and not roll out. My suggestion to the venue is maybe increase the menu as i think ill end up having the same things over and over again The only comparable indian cafe place i think there is is Dishoom, in Covent Garden, which is always busy – however i think this is due to location and the food is hit and miss too. This place might find it hard as its tucked away behind M&S Oxford St, but certainly will be somewhere i return to after a hard few hours shopping!

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 1.0

Becki H. 01 December 2011

The food at Roti Chai is good, and very flavoursome, but the portions are sooooo SMALL!!! For the price anyway… £5.20n for a tiny amount of paneer with mostly salad is very expensive. We ordered a meal each but when the portions were brought out we had to order more as there wasn't enough to go around. Can't really fault the taste of the food, I enjoyed everything. the chai was nice but just warm, not hot enough for my liking. The bun kebab was very tasty but again, very small! £7.50 for a mini burger is not good value in my opinion. The puddings are extortionate at £6.50 for a small chocolate tart. I ate in Langan's last week and paid £4.75 for a similar dish – and that's a posh restaurant. I've heard similar reviews about Roti Chai. It seems to be a bit of a tourist fad at the moment which everyone is trying out. But if they want to succeed they need to offer better value for money. Service was passable, nothing special. And they added a 12.5% service charge onto the bill! We left feeling quite unsatisfied really…

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Andrew R. 16 November 2011

I visited this restaurant yesterday with two other colleagues and was amazed at the quality and freshness of the food. We tried over ten dishes and every single one was delicious. This restaurant is apparently very new and has an original concept, and I can see this being very popular indeed. Will definitely be returning soon.

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