Tuesday 6 February 2024

Roti King, Battersea Power Station

Many moons ago I made a short-lived attempt to do some shorter-form reviews of sandwich shops, street food joints, delis and the like, places that are perhaps noteworthy but for which the usual 1000+ words could be considered overkill. This resolution didn't last long, partly because I didn't find a huge number of sandwich shops worth writing about in London (though I'm open to suggestions) but mainly because it's surprisingly hard to shake the habit of writing 1000+ words in every blog post.

So let's see how I do with this one. Roti King Battersea is a purveyor of Malaysian street food - roti (bread) and kari (curry), rendang, the odd Malaysian/Indonesian dish like nasi lemak and nasi goreng, and a couple of Singaporean-style noodle dishes. They started life in a cramped basement spot round the back of Euston station, where the queues would often snake down the road of a lunchtime, so the prospect of being able to try their food without standing in the cold for a while beforehand was obviously quite appealing.

Thanks to the wild popularity of the new Battersea Power Station development, Roti King Battersea was almost full up even at 5pm on a Sunday afternoon, but fortunately they managed to squeeze us in (almost literally - tables are so close together it's like sitting in a tube carriage) and within a couple of minutes (service is attentive bordering on fanatical) we had ordered one each of the daal, fish and mutton karis and a plate of morning glory.

For this committed meat-eater, it was a happy surprise to discover that not only was the vegetarian dhal kari more than an equal in terms of intensity and complexity of flavour to the fish and mutton varieties, but that all 3 came with their own unique sauce - they hadn't just dumped the same liquid over the three different proteins. My favourite was, of course, the mutton, which had lovely tender chunks of slow-cooked sheep in a fantastic thick, rich, tomatoey sauce spiked with turmeric and chilli, but the other version boasted big chunks of soft white fish in a lighter, more fragrant (though still packing a hell of a chilli punch) sauce. And all three came with 2 generous bits of fluffy, fresh roti as light and as crisp as French pastry, which we were able to see being made fresh to order throughout the evening in the open kitchen.

Morning glory was not quite as accomplished as the plate we'd been served at Mien Tay the week before, being slightly on the chewy side, but still had plenty going for it, not least a nice umami-dense sauce made from shrimp paste, which clung to the frilly upper leaves and burst in the mouth quite nicely.

So yes, it would have been nice to have had a bit more elbow room, and the morning glory wasn't perfect, but the rotis were lovely, we had more than enough food, and the bill for 3 people (with jasmine tea and a lemonade) came to £53.55 including service. So we couldn't have wanted for much more, really. Roti King Battersea stands as proof that you can expand from a tiny basement spot in Euston to a multi-billion-pound Malaysian-backed development south of the river and not lose your heart, soul or sense of value. And for that, we should all be grateful.



moi said...

Next time you're at the power station, the prawn and pomelo salad from the Thai place in Arcade Food Hall has to be a contender for one of London's best dishes right now. Fiery, fresh, funky, and only £8.

Ben said...

I am also powered (mostly) by toast