Always popular in its original off-Oxford-Street location, Roti Chai have now quietly opened their next restaurant all the way over in Canary Wharf…
Keeping with the inspiration from the coastal dens of India, The Toddy shop at Chai Ki does not disappoint fans of the original.
Our host for the evening was Agbar, an incredibly charming and informative guy; so much so that we put all blind faith in him to surprise us with an array of cocktails whilst we listened to his recommendations for food. We started off with the signature Maha Mojito, a ginger infused concoction that put a smile on my face and a refreshing Berry Caipirinha for my fellow diner. The cocktails are reminiscent of the spices and coconut-studded coastlines, with signatures including the Chai and Orange Martini; Mango Caipirinha; Badam Bellini; and the Pineapple Gin-Ji. You have it on good authority that they were pretty impressive. So far so good.
The food didn’t disappoint. We ended up with a smorgasboard of food from across the menu that had other diners casting envious glances our way. We started off with the highly recommended Hakka Chilli Paneer a light and balanced dish, The spices are subtle at first but creep up on you and fill your mouth with a wonderful fiery heat. Yum.
We followed up with the Chicken Tikka Naan, which looked like an Indian pizza, topped with succulent chicken tikka, yogurt, mint coriander and chutney. A great moreish dish that’s made for sharing (although we would not blame you if you didn’t share). We then tried the buttery Dhal Fry with the Malabar paratha (a traditional Indian layered bread for the unfamiliar) that was not as heavy as we had originally expected it to be, allowing the Dhal fry to do its job of leaving us gagging for more.
Next the Himalayan Ribs- these were a beautifully cooked with the meat just falling off the bones. Although they threw us a little by being sweeter than originally thought, they were nonetheless tasty.
The highlight of our evening though was the daily special of Coconut Prawns. A big dish that featured fried prawns in batter, Chai Ki seaweed podi, curry leaves, coriander and basmati rice in a beautiful coconut curry that was just heaven on the taste buds. We found ourselves devouring it quickly and wiping the plate clean with our naan breads- suffice to say, it’s one of the best modern Indian dishes we’ve had in a long time. (and that’s praise indeed from a curry connoisseur)
The best thing about all of these dishes is that none overpowered the other and all retained their distinctive flavour when going back and forth between the dishes. The spices delivered the right kind of kick and not one that just burnt your mouth into oblivion. We really doff our caps to the chefs for managing to achieve that mean feat.
So if that wasn’t enough, they are doing breakfasts too; breakfast and brunch will include signatures such as Indian Chaas Buttermilk Pancakes (with bacon, blueberries and maple syrup); Kedgeree (smoked haddock, salmon, basmati, saffron, chilli, curry leaf, kale, samphire); and Full Nashta (bacon, anda bhurji, aloo tikki hash, masala beans (Rohit’s Mum’s recipe), spiced sausage and tomato), so if you’re working in the area, you owe it to yourselves to start the day there. We’ll definitely go back for seconds. We just hope the coconut prawn is still on the menu..