At first glance, the tables set under a canvas canopy to protect from the winter chills are inviting. The decor is pleasant and well accentuated by a solitary candle flickering at each table. The place could do with a couple of extra heat lamps in this area, especially during the evening hours (winter).
A well dressed waiter showed us to our table ( we opted for the inside ) and presented us with simple looking menus. The menu promised tasty dishes of fusion cape food and we could hardly wait.
The first disappointment was the mango lassi which tasted slightly bitter and had a powdery texture to it. The yoghurt drink fell short of even the minimum lassi standards expected of a fast food Indian Asian location.
Our food orders were the curry prawns with roti, vegetable biryani and mixed vegetable curry with roti. After some banter about the freshness of the prawns and some skepticism regarding their availability the food orders were confirmed and the descriptions promised redemption.
The curry prawns arrived with a roti neatly folded alongside the bowl. The queen prawns looked genuinely appetizing with liberal amounts of curry for the roti. The mixed veg curry also looked appealing with a butter glazed roti accompaniment. In contrast the veg biryani looked tired and limp.
The food tasted nothing like it looked. The curry prawns were definitely not fresh. The distinct rubbery nature of frozen seafood was evident and the curry lacked salt (copius amounts of salt). Both the curries and the biryani were bland and the uncomfortable sensation of too much curry powder on the palate was hard to shake off. Upon inquiry we were curtly instructed that cape Malay curries are cooked bland (and tasteless if I may) and the customer must add salt to taste. The only saving grace of the entire dinner was the roti. One cannot question that rooti make and excellent roti. The light coating of butter the texture and the melt in your mouth consistency of this delectable cooked dough was almost good enough to save the rest of the meal but alas, a dry biryani which was initially served cold and then microwaved, tasted like paper. The biryani only tasted of curry powder and had all the appeal of a cardboard box.
Rooti has a lot of potential especially being the only halal restaurant on the waterfront. A little more attention to detail and a little more love for the food they cook would make this place exceptional. Rooti has mastered the roti but falls short almost everywhere else.
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