Roti King a small non-restaurant looking restaurant tucked away on a hidden side road next to Euston station. You could probably miss it during its non-operating hours. The street is fairly quiet, the street lights are usually dim and there are the meows of two cats fighting somewhere near the vicinity. This street is pretty much your average street – all except for the vast amount of people waiting to eat in this not-so aesthetically pleasing Malaysian restaurant.
If you are someone that eats more with their eyes, then this place might not entirely be for you. Aesthetically, it isn’t much. The restaurant is a basement restaurant meaning that if you’re eating there in winter, it can get kind of chilly. The waiters seem a little tired most days so service can occasionally be off, and the laminated menus are coming apart at the seams – nonetheless, they’re still readable. So, while the menus aren’t much visually, the food makes it worthwhile being caught up in the queue and being cold on a winter’s evening while you sit there waiting for your food to arrive. Those long two-hour queues outside this dingy little restaurant are not due to any new social media crazes or anything like that. People of all sorts – genuinely come here for the food. And the best part? The food is reasonably priced for its amazing quality.
Personally, I have eaten in far more expensive restaurants and that’s not me bragging; I think that most of the population here in the UK have probably had more expensive meals than the ones at Roti King but let me tell you something; no other high-end Malaysian restaurant has come close to the taste and quality of the food at Roti King.
And as I so whole-heartedly enjoy being the bearer of good news, I am also happy to inform you that yes, Roti King does serve halal food (hold the googling ‘halal places to eat’ for another day). You would however have to bring your own alcohol if you wish to drink on the premises with a fee of £10 currently in place (don’t shoot the messenger, please).
Let’s get started on the food! We’ll look at my favourite starter, main and dessert.
Kari Laksa (£7.00)
As someone who is a huge fan of spicy food – particularly soups – I was a little bit sceptical to order this. Being the spice engrossed Asian that I am, I saw the word ‘spicy’ and ‘coconut’ together and immediately knew that it was not going to be spicy to my standards at all. I took the plunge anyway and went ahead ordering the soup. After a short while, a huge bowl of Kari laksa arrived filled with Laksa soaked fried tofu puffs, prawns and chicken pieces. At the bottom of the bowl awaits the wonderfully cooked egg noodles. The coconut milk-based soup is rich and fiery making it perfect for a cold winter evening and needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed even though it wasn’t as spicy as I would have liked.
Nasi Goreng (£6.50)
Rice is a staple in the Asian household – we simply cannot live without rice and I am partially embarrassed to admit that I am not exaggerating. We practically eat, breathe and live by rice. So, trust me, I know a good rice dish when I see (or eat) one. Nasi goreng is a soy sauce stir-fried rice dish filled with seafood, chicken and veggies and garnished with spring onions and red chillies. This dish is vibrant in colour and explosive in taste – it is currently sitting comfortably at number four on my top 10 favourite dishes list. Best part? It’s the perfect comfort food.
Soya Bean Mix with Grass Jelly [£3.50]
Kind of like the infamous Taiwanese bubble tea but with its own little kick. Whilst bubble tea is enough to fill you due to the tapioca starch, the grass jelly in this drink makes in a nice way to finish with almost a drink and a dessert in one. If you have a sweet tooth, you may want to opt for the version with rose syrup, but this was just right for me allowing me to taste the delicate flavours of soya bean and aloe.
In case you really can’t tell from the contents of this review, I absolutely love this place. Despite the fact that I’ve only given you three of my favourite foods at the Roti King, I do love many of the other dishes at this place. I will say though; I prefer this place in winter. Maybe it’s because the basement location gives off a comfier vibe in the winter and the dim lighting works better for that time of year or maybe because in the summer I’m an old school person who loves picnics and long walks on the beach (okay so that part is a joke, I hate sand and there isn’t a beach near me for miles on end. Plus, seagulls are evil). I wouldn’t say this place is family-friendly – it’s rather small to accommodate family days out but grab a takeaway and you’re good to go! But for the price, the food is definitely worth a go.