During my very first year after we moved to London I was on a spree to explore the city and of course travel around England. My first winter ( 2011) I really took my time to acclimatise and had a tough time going from one day to the other without feeling a mixture of utter boredom, gloom and loneliness ( maybe one of the reasons I subconsciously pushed myself to start blogging again after a long hiatus , my old blog started in 2006 , I abandoned for various reasons didn’t seem something I wanted to go back to…and ”sliceoffme” was born) On one such terribly cold and grey evening one of my old college mates who I found stayed in London via FB (Thank god for FB!) and me met for a drink and some window shopping. After walking all over Oxford Street we were ravenously hungry and I wanted something substantial and if possible Indian and not expensive – humm , lucky for me she really knew the area well and we walked to a tiny by lane off Reagent street n queued up inside The Kati Roll company. It was packed to the gills and is a tiny little place but very popular as I was informed by N.
The juicy and perfectly spiced pieces of meat,chicken or paneer wrapped in one of those ready to eat thick parathas (why?! well of this is NOT Mumbai is it so no chance of the REAL DEAL aka a Rumali Roti – a fine Indian Bread which is made by bravely tossing the dough around in open air and full public view and lands expertly on a tandoor – if I was to try it would probably land on my face! ) and seasoned with a spicy chutney and finely sliced red onions are so good especially when washed down with a chilled cola. I ordered two rolls with meat – but one can really fill you up if you are not too hungry.We managed to get a place to sit, partly because I hovered around a table where a group of hungry young men were wolfing down their rolls and managed to look very exhausted , hungry and in need for a place to sit – sigh… the things one has to do to get a table anywhere nice in London 😉
Last month when I was out near Reagent Street and struck by a serious hunger pang I made a beeline for The Kati Roll Company. Pleasantly surprised to find the place was not as busy and the interiors also seemed to have had a serious facelift. New on the menu was a very tempting bottle of thick mango lassi , the last one was sitting there in the fridge begging me to buy it…something about a water droplet slowly making its way from the too of the bottle along the side which was very ummm… mesmerising ? 🙂 Alas the hungry man who ordered right before I did bought it – dang!So armed with a Shami Kebab and an Unda Shami Roll (guilt guilt !) I grabbed a table before it vanished.
So I had to settle for a coke – ah well. I sat on a table facing a wall with Aamir Khan staring down at me from a movie poster of his best film yet – Lagaan. I love how the posters had been put pasted onto the wall and then run over with a roller, I suppose ,making it look like the bricks had these images and had just been fitted into one another (much like the stunning wallpaper at Tartine Artisanal in Tooting – read my review here)
Several old Bollywood posters decorate the orange brick walls at The Kati Roll Company. Just then a very noisy bunch of ladies ,giggling and talking all at once stepped in to get some rolls rudely snapping me out of my reverie… and here I was so far away from London, imagining I was in Bombay sitting on a wooden bench outside Bade Miya – a roadside stall probably more famous than The Taj restaurant behind which it operates. (Actually a roadside stall is probably the worst way to describe this crazy popular ”landmark” in Mumbai, they probably are the richest operators selling kebabs in Bombay city!) I could almost smell the open air grills giving out tantalising aromas of succulent kebabs sizzling away, the laughter of young and uppity South Mumbai crowd inter mingled with the murmur of conversation from the office -goers, college students , a few tourists and the other odd people, all huddled together in small groups around cars -or just standing around, while the super busy ”waiters” rushed around with a stub and a mangled notepad yelling out our orders to no one in particular.
Sometimes I miss Bombay so much that I have a very real physical heart-ache and it takes me several minutes to snap out of my walk down memory lane. The Kati Roll company is one such place where it is very easy for me to slip into such a state and happily so. Its only when I walked out of there and the cold afternoon January wind slapped me in the face did I suddenly realise that I was ONLY a few thousand miles away from Bade Miya and Bombay city, in London – on a cold winter afternoon…
So yes its possible to get a really decent, as close to authentic ”Indian” kebab rolls on a budget in Central London.
Should you go there ? Heck yes!
Is it on my list of favourite cheap eats around London – yes !
Do you need any more prodding ? Guess Not!