Roti Chenai Cafe is a reasonably well-known Wellington eatery, being easily visible on Victoria Street and quite accessible for work crowds from both ends of town. A friend dined with me and both she and I had previously visited for lunch.
It has a nice atmosphere – lots of quirky ornaments and vibrant colours – and the tables aren’t too jam packed together, which I like. It’s clearly popular as although we were very early we weren’t the first diners, and it was full by the time we left at 7pm.
Roti Chenai’s food is fusion – South Indian and Malaysian – and the menu is broad. Each dish is labelled with the region it hails from, and as I was favouring a curry style dish over noodles, beef rendang (my standard order) was my choice, rendang being the only dish of that type from Malaysia on the menu.
My friend chose the sambar dosai - she’s vegetarian and was pretty happy with the number of options on the menu, which is a good sign.
My rendang was hearty and rich, and came with “curry sauce” as well as rice. The curry sauce was a little thinner and lighter in flavour and it was quite nice having both on the plate. I really enjoyed the rendang, and the roti was fresh and tasty too.
My friend’s dosai was a curious dish – dosai is described on their website as a batter made of urid and rice flour, fermented overnight then cooked like a pancake. The pancake is huge (so big it doesn’t really fit on the plate!) and very thin and crispy. The sambar filling was a lentil-based curry, which was tasty (though perhaps not as flavoursome as the rendang).
As well as the savoury food Roti Chenai do dessert roti. I knew Mr Cake wouldn’t say no to one of these, so when we’d finished our meal I ordered one chocolate and one banana roti to go. We watched as the roti cook made them and wrapped them carefully in tinfoil to keep warm. They came with cream and maple syrup and they went down a treat – we both preferred the banana roti as the chocolate was a bit sickly, and maple syrup and banana is a great combination (although perhaps not very Malaysian!).
All in all it was a great meal – very good value food with great variety and friendly service.
This post was originally written for the Makan Blog Squad. Mrs Cake dined anonomously courtesy of Malaysia Kitchen.