Roti Chai, Mayfair

  • DATE #101
  • Written by Emily Eaves (Guest Author)
  • 5 years ago
Upstairs, downstairs

The Vibe

When a Goldman Sachs banker calls his restaurant simply Roti Chai (translation: Bread / Tea) you know it’s going to be a bit of a concept joint. This place mixes sumptuous flavours and imaginative cocktails with staple Indian fare and “streetfood”, albeit served in Mayfair. The hidden mews location of the restaurant (tucked behind the chaotic Selfridges end of Oxford Street) has not stemmed its popularity- word is spreading fast with regular queues out of the door. The decor is a mixture of industrial chic and traditional- the “Street Kitchen” upstairs hosts a trendy all-day canteen vibe, whilst the “Dining Room” downstairs, open evenings only, features dark wood, a more formal restaurant menu and a wonderfully seductive basement bar. Indian cuisine has long been neglected in the list of dating options, this is the place to change that.

The Order

Treat this like tapas. Traditional Indian cuisine involving creamy curries, rice and naan can induce feelings of fullness that are not conducive to flirtation or sexual activity. Here you get something a little more delicate. Ask the waiters to suggest some of their most popular smaller dishes, and don’t miss out on the Bhel Puri, Hakka Chilli Paneer or easy to eat bites of Parsi Chicken Farcha. Tales of your travels in India or (brief) references to a gap year visit to Jaipur will go down a storm here and enable you to order some of the

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less Westernised dishes with confidence. There is an excellent spirit list but a bottle of wine would seem out of place, so start off with the Bellinis, made with an Indian twist, and finish with the best-selling Lychee Teapot Martini to share.

The Game

The Street Kitchen section is fantastic but the dark wood and the dramatic theatre of the downstairs restaurant is probably more date-worthy. Meet at Bond Street station, one of the more socially acceptable stations to play the waiting game, and meander towards Mayfair. Reserve your table (which you can’t do upstairs) and definitely leave time either side of your meal to start and finish in the stunning bar area. Indian can be heavy so steer away from the larger mains and try the smaller dishes including the Punjabi ‘tikki wala’ mini burgers. Guys can (without shame) go for bottled beers, whilst girls should work their way through the Maha Mojitos or Pushkar Pimms. There is no need to move on afterwards, you can spend the night flitting between the bar and your table; get swept away, play the part of Bollywood lovers and drunkenly dance your way out of there.

The Faults

Fussy eaters aren’t welcome and if you want safe menu options or your date is a fan of gastro dining, this isn’t the place. Obviously check with them that they like Indian food.

Sex Factor

4- It’s pretty sexy downstairs, a little exotic and a place to get carried away.

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