The sight of slightly shivering Mancunians, hunkering down for a dinner in the wind and rain won’t have surprised many. Sure we’re a hardy bunch but the truth is almost everyone I know has been desperate to get out, and it’s playful plates of quality food and banging cocktails, plus genuinely welcoming and friendly service, that we’ve long been daydreaming about.
Sure there might be a few more competent sourdough bakers out there these days, and plenty more prep from scratch going on in home kitchens, but let’s be honest we’ve all been craving being cooked for – and most preferably being cooked for by a professional.
So in search of an excellent feed we find ourselves at Roti Food & Liquor, where the theme is Indian fare with a bit of a twist, and more often than not swerve ball comes from north of the border, courtesy of the owner’s Scottish heritage. Take for example the cocktails we sip to start, a butterscotch spiked Espresso Martini is joined by the bar’s infamous Irn Bru Negroni, a deliciously different take on the classic aperitif.
Popadoms aren’t served quite how you may be used to either, dips are already laid on top, creating a sort of nacho platter that looks great and is perfect for sharing.
The modest menu is made up of just 20 items, much less than your ordinary Indian, and the goal is all killer no filler. That trimmed down list means nothing on there is alike, you can enjoy the Goan Fish Curry or Kashmiri Pork Belly, both from opposite ends of the Indian Subcontinent and offering totally different flavour and textures.
There’s the light, fragrant and delicate spice of the south, perfect with white fish, or a more fiery, rich and meaty northern dish – if you have any sense order both.
In-between courses I poked my head inside for a look at the wicked painted mural and fit out, then caught owner Ryan for a quick chat:
“We opened back in December 2019 then of course were forced to close not long after, however feedback from our takeaway service has been fantastic, we even reached top spot for Indian food in Greater Manchester during lockdown!”
“We wanted to do something a bit different to your usual Indian restaurant, and I thought bringing my Scottish heritage in would be great a way to achieve that. We also like to celebrate Manchester too, and things like the daal in our fish and chips, is a nod to how popular mushy peas are here.”
“Trying to bring cultures together was a big inspiration, we’ve had dishes like the Gulab Jamun Cheesecake which proved really popular, mixing two classic desserts from different parts of the world and doing something totally new.”
“Everything is cooked from fresh daily and we don’t use stock pots, so each dish on the menu is totally unique and has its own flavour, plus we also switch bits up every two or three months to keep things interesting.”
“Keeping things simple but offering people a brilliant experience is our formula and it’s worked fantastically so far, we’re already looking at new sites and hoping to expand soon so watch this space!”
Another standout fusion dish you need to try is the Haggis Pakora, which is available veggie or meaty, and sums up beautifully what the guys at Roti have achieved with a genuinely enticing menu of excitingly different dishes. The Samosa Chaat is worth your attention too, and proves they can still play the classics.
One thing Roti certainly has in common with other Indian places is before long we’re left fit to burst but still wanting to try so much more. I’ll undoubtedly be back to sample the Onion Bhaji topped Punjabi Burger, as well as the Masala Spiced Scotch Egg.
We finish, as all good tartan-tinged meals should, with a Deep Fried Mars Bar – which comes with an equally indulgent side of Homemade Ferrero Roche Ice Cream – and are left wondering what exquisite experimentations could come next Roti Food & Liquor…
Roti Food & Liquor
559 Barlow Moor Rd
0161 222 4530
Monday – Thursday 4–9pm