40 Doric Way, Euston, London NW1 1LH
Price: £10 pp drinks excluded
If we were living two hundred years in the past, this would be one of those places where Mr. Delaney would meet some obscure character to unfold his plans in Taboo (if you haven’t watched the serie yet…do). Not that Roti King is an obscure place itself, but the basement location, the narrow, dirty alley and the fumes of the surrounding station-related commerce, make it a keen representation of the contagious underground energy of bustling London. So here it is, the magic of the City in action, in a grey basement behind Euston station. And I loved it all.
I particularly loved the modern twist of the menu: the place promises authentic Malaysian cuisine, and you will find a mix of Malaysian, Chinese and Indian dishes because – truth to be told – Malaysia and Malaysian cuisine are now a cradle of cultures and colours. Hence the whole thing does turn out to be a pretty authentic experience.
Portions are abundant hence be careful how much you order. We chose a bit of everything. I tried Nasi Goreng (£7) – fried rice with seafood – that was good but not particularly generous on the seafood side. I kind of regret not having gone for the Beef Randang that is therefore on the list for my second visit. We also tried Ho Fun noodles with beef (£7) – a Cantonese speciality with flat rice noodles and egg gravy. Pretty interesting. A bit slimy, but interesting. Good flavour and a fun dish.
Ho Fun noodles
Having said all this, “Roti” is indisputably the king of the palace. So just go for it. Mercilessly. Roti is a flat fresh bread from the Indian continent. When I go visit my Asian friends and they make it fresh for me, I cry of happiness – just to give you an idea of how good it is. And at Roti King it is made on the spot for you. Choose whichever option you want. We had it with dal – Roti Canai (£5) – , and I could have had ten bowls of it. Considering the price probably even twenty. But I was also drooling while looking at the baker preparing it with cheese or chicken filling.
What can I say, whether you are a well-travelled Londoner or a first-timer in the City, the place is perfect for an avant garde, quick, filling, inexpensive lunch to discover yet one more hidden corner of this enticing cultural and historical entanglement that is London.