"May the road rise up to meet you," goes the old Irish blessing to the weary traveller. The road I have in mind, though, isn't going to get a chance to "rise up" to meet anybody - it's about to get hit with a stampede.
Roti Road is a brand-new Malaysian-Chinese restaurant that has just opened in Footscray on the site of the old Yummie. It's had an epic makeover, complete with glossy wood, red banquettes and green-leaved potted plants dotted throughout.
We were wandering by, perfectly content with our dinner plans at an old favourite, when we saw that it was open for business. Wild horses etc etc. Thus you'll have to forgive the quality of the camera phone photos on this instance - I was a bit underprepared!
House-made roti with three dipping sauces of sorts (sweet and almost smoky chicken curry sauce, a lovely dal, and jammy sambal). This roti is unreal. The whole plate is $5.90 (YES) and you can add a very excellent chunky lamb (or beef, or chicken) curry for an extra $4. This roti rivals Mamak - seriously, you have to try it.
Just some good old salt-and-pepper squid in a noodle basket. This was done well.
These chicken dumplings looked gorgeous on the menu (indeed, most things do - they're beautifully photographed) but I found them a bit lacking in flavour and juice. A bit of soy and vinegar, though, and Bob's your uncle. The little "webs" aren't attached to the bases but are separate, which is unusual.
We were busy gorging ourselves when suddenly, an upbeat dance track came on and the stereo got turned up. We peered about, wondering what was going on, but the staff were all looking at the floor with knowing smiles. Suddenly, out of the kitchen bounded a chef, twirling and flipping a tissue-thin sheet of roti pastry like pizza!
He popped and locked his way through the whole track, all the while spinning his roti in the air, while the patrons whooped and cheered. It was so unexpected and so joyful. Apparently this happens every evening!
Can you find the roti?
One half of Roti Road is David Tran, who is the son of Yummie head honchos John and Annie Tran. Devotees of their dumplings can rest easy that yum cha is still on offer daily until 3pm. I had a quick chat to David after our meal and he confirmed that their head chef is Malaysian, and everything is made here from scratch, from the roti to the laksa paste.
Speaking of which, here's what you have to look forward to!
David shouted us this Matterhorn of a dessert - roti with condensed milk and icecream. Completely OTT fun.
Roti Road is officially opening today, Friday 2 May. I love the decor, which feels smart but not slick. The food is really good and I can't wait to try more. The toilets need some TLC but I believe that was meant to be happening over the last few days, plus some more artwork going on the walls. Oh, and it's BYO for now but a licence is in the works.
No need to divert to Flemington, Footscrazies - when it comes to Malaysian food, we can go our own way now!
Roti Road (Facebook)
189-193 Barkly Street, Footscray
Phone: 9078 8878