On a cold, sleety, winter's night, there's nothing quite like some spicy food in a cosy curry house to warm the soul and that is what the Oakham Curry Club (OCC) sought on Friday 1st February.
Unfortunately, Roti was probably not the ideal place to go for this. Ostensibly, it's a takeaway with a few tables. A fairly spartan, albeit neat and tidy, interior, with a large screen TV dominating one wall, which was useful for those of the OCC that wanted to keep abreast of the shenanigans on Coronation Street. It was quite comforting to know that Kevin Webster still runs the garage and that the underwear factory at the end of the Street seems to be doing a good trade in these uncertain times. Perhaps Brexit hasn't yet reached Wetherfield? Anyway I digress...
Our group of 10 were seated and pretty much left to our own devices. Staff were busy tending to takeaway orders and deliveries so there was no waiting staff hovering over us which was quite refreshing as there was no pressure or rush to proceedings, but this obviously lead to gaps in service and attention. Poppadoms were delivered with (almost) all the sauces, including a very mediocre and runny mango chutney, and orders for our starters were taken. There was a bit of a wait for the 10 starter dishes to be served - so much so in fact that an adjacent party were seated, had their starters and were served their mains in the meantime - but they were generally eaten with relish once they arrived. Maybe the smell of the food from the other table had served to increase everyone's hunger?
My mixed grill was a mixed bag: a lovely sheesh full of onions and well spiced; a couple of healthy chunks of chicken tikka that were succulent but quite bland; and 2 unusual lamb chops that were overdone and tasted mostly of tamarind. Unusually, our main orders weren't taken until after our starters had been finished but this allowed some deep perusal of the menu and some friendly advice from the owner, including on some very unusual specials of mutton haleem stew, the sauteed sheep brain dish called magaz, paya trotter soup and nihari beef shank stew. We plumped for a dish of paya to sample alongside our other somewhat belated orders. Fears this delay would lead to another extensive wait for food were soon abated by the general relaxed nature of the venue that allowed the OCC to proceed with Club business. The mains arrived without any errors or issues and we all tucked in.
The food was ok. Some members found the chicken rubbery, personally I felt it was cooked very nicely. However the sauces of both the vindaloo and the chicken karahi were somewhat oily, the karahi in particular disappointingly lacking in spice. The saag paneer was tasty and the mixed tandoori grills looked great value for money. The paya wasn't to my fancy but perhaps the trotters floating in the soup put me off. The undoubted star of my dish, perhaps unsurprisingly given the venue's name, was the roti. At 60p it was an absolute bargain and perfectly cooked.
After filling our faces, we settled up - £25 per head including tip and soft drinks (Roti is a BYOB place) - and exited into the cold winter night, slightly warmer for the experience but perhaps not as warm as we may have been. OCC Ratings: Customer Care - 5.62 Service - 4.8 Value - 6.02 Quality - 5.15 Atmosphere - 3.2
Overall - 4.96/10
Roti Food Bar is NOT OCC recommended, given the required 7.5/10 required for such an honour.