Roti Road’s “flying roti men” can be observed in action in the kitchen … or (bottom photograph) right out there on the dinging room floor.
Roti Road, 189-193 Barkly Street, Footscray. Phone:9078 8878
Since Consider The Sauce hit the road, a variety of widespread options – in Seddon, Sunshine, Deer Park – have come to offer Malaysian alternatives away from Racecourse Road in Flemington.
Still, the opening of Roti Road in the premises of what was formerly the Yummie yum cha joint has created quite a buzz … and even a week or so after it opened its doors and very early in the week, there’s obviously quite a few people in the house to see how it stacks up.
Laksa and the like right here in downtown Footscray?
We’re right with them and excited about it, too.
The revamp leaves the place still looking like a cheap ‘n’ cheerful ethnic cafe, but with very real touches of class to go with it – there’s a lot of dark wood and it looks great.
The staff are on the ball, even when Bennie’s main soup/noodle bowl appears to go missing.
Bennie and I are joined by our equally hongry pals Eliza and Josh, so we get to take quite a few of Roti Road’s offerings for a test run.
We have a great time – but there are hits and misses.
We order two serves of the basic roti cani deal for $5.90 apiece.
This is great stuff – super fluffy roti that is much more substantial than first appears to be the case, accompanied by dal, curry gravy, sambal.
What a super and affordable snack meal, with a serve of four different curries available to supplement for $4-5.
Red bean Okinawa ($5.50) and traditional three-colour milk tea ($4.50).
Satay chicken (six pieces for $9) is sweetish, a little smoky and fine.
Eliza goes OK with her char kuay teow ($10.50), but besides not being made with the wide noodles of her mum’s rendition it seems on the undistinguished side.
The reading/eating public wants to know – so I was always going to order a laksa.
Roti Road’s basic chicken model ($11.50) is dull.
All the expected bits and pieces are in place, but it simply lacks the sort of impact and lusty oomph for which I’m hoping.
The curry soup itself is mild and bland. Eliza takes a taste and concurs.
Bennie stuns me by ordering the fish head noodle ($11.90).
Good it is, too, with plenty of fish pieces both bony and fleshy in a lovely, homely, tangy, milky broth.
But there’s simply too much of it for him and it’s also a little too much on the high-maintenance and fiddly side.
In terms of our main selections, Josh is the big winner with his man-size serve of Malaysian-style curry chicken ($16.80), of which he makes lip-smackingly short work.
It has many chook bits bathing in a sticky sauce that has a sweetish, perhaps smoky tang the likes of which I’ve never before come across is a Malaysian curry.
We grab two of the roti tisu desserts ($9.50, $9.90), the crispy bread “lightly coated with condensed milk and dusted with sugar” and the above specimen additionally having cocoa powder thrown into the mix.
Both are served with garishly white ice-cream and are a sticky, moreish treat – sort of like an “impossible to stop” dessert version of potato chips!
Roti Road is a great Footscray addition, but it’ll simply take a short while to find what works … start with the rotis and go from there.