There is such a mind-boggling variety of food cramped up in the block behind the Park Regis hotel in Karama, that your brains get fried into this chewy schmukaroo of dinner-time confusion. Should you do Ethiopian? Or Sudanese falafel? Or Indonesian? Or Indian – and if Indian, which of the many squished together places do you pick? It’s the perfect Karama couch for a food orgy of the most excessive order.
Now here’s the place I had for dinner after I already had dinner a few stops away some place else. Kati Express. I was in one of those crap situations where I'd just eaten a very mediocre, somewhat disappointing meal - one that filled my tummy, but didn't touch my heart or move my soul or do any of those spiritual things that great food can do to you. So I stepped in, hoping that dinner part 2 would show me some love.
Kati Rolls are simply veggie or meaty fillings swaddled in a toasty layered Paratha. But underestimate it you must not. IF:
The filling is right—maybe some fat nobs of paneer basking over some coriander chutney and sprinkled with a lemon squish, or a nice juicy chicken tikka roll with thick zingy masala drooling all over it
The paratha is smeared with egg that fries up across its blistered surface into an omletty web of squishy-crisp flavour
Mind Melt into this Gloopy Alien thing which will keep jabbering at you until you shut it up with a Kati Roll.
Mind Melt would be a bit of an exaggeration about the Kati Rolls at Katti Express. Good they are, mind-blowing they have potential to be—but are not yet. Let me show you.
The Chicken Achari Roll. Tiny nuggets of chicken cooked with a gravy pickled with Nigella seeds, cuddled in a paratha that had the signature omelette stamp on it. The perfect tangy-lemony-eggy combo that would be a serious contender for your lunchtime munchies. Or your dinner part 2 munchies.
BUT, having loved the Kati Roll Company’s version in NYC, I did wish that this version had (1) zesty coriander chutney smeared inside (2) bundles of super-brownish caramelized masala onions (3) a paratha that is more toasty-crispy-charred, one that’s been cooked to that scary point that it’s about to get overcooked and then you swipe it off the griddle (Kati Roll Co. in NYC doesn't do this, but I'm sure a extra toasty paratha would really have rocked that roll). I’m sure I could ask for at least two of these three adjustments the next time around, so it’s not a deal breaker by any means, just a little tweaking so I can selfishly relive the same Kati Roll experience from my New York days.
The tender Shaami Kabab roll was also lovingly polished off by yours truly—but the Chicken Achari definitely had the one-up with the picked twang going on inside it. I’d also place my bets on the Paneer Tikka (with a request for extra lemon on it), Bhuna Mutton (maybe I’d get an extra lemon squish here too), and Paneer Achari (no lemon, it’s already pickled.) They have some ‘Chinese’ and ‘Japanese’ versions like fillings with a nebulous ‘Chinese gravy’ (sweet and sour?) or Teriyaki sauce – which I’ll probably steer clear from just because I’m a fat old creature of habit and fusion Kati rolls just ain’t my thing.
[Famous last words. Watch this space closely cause I bet I’ll end up trying them someday and they’ll be the best thing since sliced, pan-fried and chaat-masala sprinkled paratha strips.]