Located in Footscray Roti Road was somewhere I'd heard about through the bloggers grapevine and was keen to try. After all, good roti is one of my favourite things and while Footscray isn't the first place that would come to mind when thinking of a Malaysian style meal, the sheer competition of all the other good eateries in the area would mean that it would have to be good to last.
Situated on Barkly Street maybe ten minutes from the train station, Roti Road is just that bit nicer place to eat than most of the Malaysian eateries around town. Nicer than most neighbourhood places in Malaysia too, with its painted mural on the wall, dark wooden tables and industrial style lighting.
On entering service is friendly but what is surprising is that for a place called Roti Road the selection of rotis was a bit restricted, the range of other styles of dishes wider than I'd expected.
First thing I always have to have in a Malaysian café is the nasi lemak, ordered with the chicken berempah (fried chicken) and sambal sotong (spicy squid). On the plus side the serve was generous, and the rice had some fragrance to it although I would have liked more. I wasn't such a fan of the sambal though, which was more liquid and less punchy in flavour than I like. The chicken, which initially looked overdone, was nicely moist and the squid tender, but the ikan bilis felt slightly stingy. Fair enough to say that that it left me with mixed feelings.
Fortunately though all the rotis were better. The roti chanai was nicely fluffy, the accompanying sauces flavoursome with the chilli packing an acceptable level of heat (I generally prefer it quite spicy).
When the accompanying beef rending came out my initial thought was the serve was small, but the flavour was rich and good.
There are a few sweet dessert style rotis on the menu, including a roti pisang (banana) and a roti tissue. The roti pisang looked very cute, served with a scoop of ice cream on the side and Roti Road spelt out in chocolate syrup. Nicely sweet and crispy, I would have preferred a bit more banana but it's fairly common for this dish to be a bit light on here because of the cost.
I liked the look of the roti tissue when it hit the table, mainly because it reminded me of the sorting hat from Harry Potter! Sweet and slightly sticky as I like, the reason it's called roti tissue is because the roti should be tissue paper thin. This was a bit thick in places, not badly so just not quite what it should have been. Tasty and with a snappy texture in some parts, but closer to regular roti in others.
Nice place to eat and if it's not as good or as cheap as your favourite mamak place in KL or Penang, it's perfectly fine for Melbourne.
Food - 7
Service - 7
Ambience - 8
Price - 7
189-193 Barkly Street
Footscray VIC 3011
Tel: (03) 9078 8878