The Roti Man
10-12 Armstrong St
Middle Park, VIC 3206
03 9699 4244
Having rented a bachelor pad for a couple of years in St Kilda West, I’d very occasionally venture to Albert Park and Middle Park for food. I first tried out The Roti Man last year with my folks. Dad and mum being quite the fussy Singaporeans when it comes to food, I was quite surprised that they really enjoyed the meal here. Further down the track, I ate here with Marc, who loved it too. This time round, Hao came to visit me and take a photos of Mr Woo, my foster puppy. He has only eaten Indian food once near Parliament, he wanted to discover more. I decided to take him to The Roti Man for a gentle induction into Indian food.
Hao eats very early. First time I had dinner with him, he booked it for 5pm… in summer! That meal went at a leisurely pace, but when we finished and left the joint, it was still bright outside. We visited The Roti Man at 6pm on a Wednesday as the first dinner patrons. It felt like we were having afternoon tea..
The front staff are all from Malaysia, which corresponds to the name of the restaurant. But I did enquire where the chefs came from. Our relaxed, friendly waiter told me they’re from India. Good… should be authentic! Even as the place got full later on in the evening, the ambience was quite warm and pleasant.
We originally ordered the vegetable pakora as an entreé but this came out instead. It looked so amazing that we said nevermind, we’ll happily take it. The bhaji was served hot, it was deep-fried perfectly and wasn’t oily. Now I’m not one who’s that familiar with Indian cuisine, but I thought this tasted pretty good. The chick pea flour batter had an infusion of spices in it. I could taste tumeric in particular. It tasted good whether or not you dipped it into the mint sauce.
Hao’s approach to food is very novel. Being a photographer, each dish elicits a colour in him. For the onion bhaji, he comments that the colour is blue, and the taste reminds him of seafood… Isn’t that beautiful?
Despite its almost simplistic description, this vegetarian dish tasted way better that I’d expected. The sauce was thick, non-creamy and it had a great infusion of chilli and spices. Hao thought the mushrooms were very fresh. He likes mushrooms. Very nice soaking up all that yummy sauce with our rotis.
Not a bad curry. The rockling fish pieces were pristine and moist and the spices were on the gentler side. I did wish there was more chilli spiciness in the curry. The restaurant rated this dish 2 out of 3 in the scale of chilli-hotness, but to me it rates 1/10. To Hao, it’d probably be 1/100, ha ha! But he was happy with this dish because the sauce was good.