The city's fascination with rolls is increasing, finds RAHUL VERMA

A new food item has been added to Delhi’s gastronomic lexicon – and that’s the roll. Calcutta always had its rolls and kathis, but these were not something that Delhi was used to. Then Nizam’s in Connaught Place started selling kathi kababs – roomali rotis and parathas which came wrapped around chicken or mutton tikkas, spilling out with chutneys and onion rings. Over the years, small roll places have sprung up across the city and are doing quite a roaring business. In fact, there are so many roll joints in the city that it’s often hard to say what’s good and what’s not.

But when I heard about rollmaal in Defence Colony, I was interested for two reasons. One, I liked the name and their logo, which was written in English, but gave the impression of Devanagri script. And two, I was told that it had been started by the people who were behind Mamagoto. Since I liked the food there, I thought I should try out the fare at rollmaal.

The place is in the Defence Colony Market (Phone no: 011-41017360/61, Mob: 9873736881). I liked the display window – which had been adorned with a great many wooden rolling pins (rolling pins roll, get it?). I had a look at the menu card, and liked that too. A rotund, somewhat shady looking man wearing shades and a lungi was running with a skewer of kababs in his hand. “Sabka Rollu ek,” said the slogan.

The place, which began operations on April 1, is open from noon to midnight daily. I went in and sat down at a table. There is seating for 20 downstairs, and upstairs is the counter for takeaways, with a nice open kitchen behind. The people who work there are dressed like old style-dakiyas – in loose khaki outfits that should have been banned by law.

But the rolls are good. What makes this place different from other roll eateries is the fact that their stuffing is innovative. For instance, they have something called Chettinad Southy “Mind it” roll – (veg Rs.110/chicken Rs.135). I asked for one of these rolls, and was happy with the chicken that had been cooked with curry leaves, pepper and spices and had been wrapped inside a Malabari paratha. The Bombay Style “Franky” (chicken: Rs.134, mutton: Rs.150) was rather nice too – a semi-dry curry that had been rolled into an ulta tawa paratha, with a layering of egg.

Then there is a section called ‘Choose your own maal’. I chose mutton, and the “Yummy Andhra” kind, which had supposedly been cooked in the Andhra style, with grated coconut, curry leaves and pepper. I liked it, but have a feeling that the people of Andhra Pradesh, who like their food really hot, would sniff at it.

The veggie deals (for Rs. 99) are not bad either. The aloo til roll consists of baby potatoes cooked with sesame seeds, aniseed and poppy seeds. You can choose the kind of wrappings you want – roomali roti, ultey tawa ka paratha, lachcha paratha or Malabar paratha.

If you are not seriously into rolls, you could try some of the other stuff that they have. I had a Bandra vada pao (Rs.75) – which was an aloo bonda between two soft paos smeared with gunpowder and tamarind chutney. They also have a bun samosa served with pindi channa (Rs.85).

All in all, it’s a nice place — with some interesting ideas. Roll them in, I say.

More In: Food | Metroplus | Delhi | Features