SW4 – Rotli Crew @ The King & Co – Clapham

It’s not something I normally shout about, but as well as this wee blog, I also write a monthly food and drink column for the Clapham and Wandsworth Magazine.  In November’s edition which is out shortly (and is distributed to discerning households and businesses in Wandsworth, Battersea, Clapham, Balham, Tooting, Southfields and Putney), I wrote about some notable pop ups in the area. One of them was Rotli Crew, and while I didn’t have the word count to review the Indian street food specialists within the mag, I was more than willing to pen a few additional characters and sample some of the morsels on offer for this little blog. Rotli Crew’s residency is running at the independently run The King & Co pub on Clapham Park Road until Sunday 29th November

The menu is made up of small plates (or starters, if you prefer), large plates, sides and puddings -although I would say that the portions are extremely generous and there little discrepancy in serving size between them. Small plates on the menu include jeera-fried chicken wings, tomato and onion kachumber, green chilli raita; pani puri filled with kala chana, tamarind ketchup and green chutney, and aubergine, paneer and seasonal greens bhajia – the latter two were what I chose.

The pani puri (pictured below) were crunchy and of course sweetly tangy thanks to the tamarind ketchup. The dish is one of texture but I wouldn’t say particularly strong on other flavours – other than the tamarind which is obviously the main shebang here. I’d like to shove a whole one in my mouth a be greeted with a wealth of textures and flavour combinations.

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The aubergine, paneer and seasonal green bhajia below looked a lot more attractive than my dimly lit photos. The external crunch of the bhajia gives way to soft and varied texture of the ingredients within – all of which are visible and perfectly formed. The bhajia are fresh, hot and should be served more often in pubs with a pint of IPA.

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The masala cod cheeks in IPA batter, red lentil dhal, lime pickle raita (part of the largerwere really beautifully cooked – the cod cheeks were delicate and sweet and while it was my favourite choice from my order, the dish would have been improved without the dhal which didn’t really add anything other than a soggy bottom.

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For a side I chose potato achaar – with mango pickle dressing. The potatoes were soft with a delicate crunch on their corners but the mango pickle made them seem salty.

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Paratha is one of my favourite Indian breads. When I visited India back on my Gap Yah (actually it was more of a one-month sejour), I had it for breakfast every day. Rotli Crew’s took me back there – soft, buttery with delicious layers which tear and unfold and your pull it apart. More, more more!

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Rotli Crew are doing an excellent job in their temporary home, serving up manageable morsels of Indian street food to hungry pub punters. It’s a perfect stop for a pint and a bite to eat, a stone’s throw from the busy never-to-get-a-seat other Clapham alternatives.

The King & Co
100 Clapham Park Road,
SW4 7BZ

Rotli Crew
www.franceandnoonan.com/streetfood

SW9 – Brixton – Sorry, No Vacancies

Sorry, No Vacancies – if you can find it (because believe me, it’s further and more hidden down Brixton Road than you think) – is located at number 378. The door in the parade of shops – just a little past Morley’s – eventually catches your eye as it’s the last bastion of light (or so it seems) before you hit Kennington. Of all the gin joints in Brixton, we found it!

Classic Magarita

Classic Margarita – old habits die hard!

Priorities / common sense mean the Welshman and I get the cocktails in first. Determined not to be the creature of habit I usually become when I go to new places, I opt for a Californian Sunrise in the hope the gin, Aperol and lillet rouge, topped with San Pellegrino aranciata rossa, casts me to Venice Beach, or at the very least a state of intoxication in which I can dream of the sand, sea and the rest. My tongue always deserves the bitterness; there’s no chance I’m opting for a sickly sweet cocktail. That I cannot abide. Lord also knows why I’ve added the Margarita photo first. I had that next, and while we’re on the subject – that’s more like it! Margaritas are my favourites, and not being a cocktail girl at heart (beer and wine only, and a distinct lack of nail varnish), I slug it down like no tomorrow.

Why are Margaritas always so small?!

Both the Margarita and Californian Sunshine were both more than quaffable. If you go out for cocktails with the girls on a Friday, have dates on Wednesday evenings in low-lit trendy places, you’ll be drawn to Sorry, No Vacancies.

Priority number two: hotdogs!

*Insert wurst pun here*

*Insert wurst pun here*

The hotdogs were pretty suave. Doughy bread (in good way) were filled to the brim with onions, and the dog itself was *oh yes*. The chef responsible for such a mealy hotdog (consider it substantial enough for dinner) is Chris Gillard – the man from St John’s Restaurant. I’ve since heard that they’ve also added a vegetarian option too, if you swing that way.

Californian  Sunshine, in Brixton

Californian Sunshine, in Brixton

Alas, we see a picture of Californian Sunrise, which I was banging on about earlier…the dimly lit bar and red down lighting ensured my photos were sufficiently poor quality enough to put a strong sepia filter on them. American beers also proliferated the drinks menu. The Welshman opted for Brooklyn, which was served by the bottle.

The bar at Sorry, No Vacancies

The bar at Sorry, No Vacancies

Cocktails are priced at the standard rate you’d expect the in London Town,  around the £6-7 mark or just a little over. The decor is dim, 70s, pop-up like (it’s a pop up). Not over enthralling and highly predictable. What was pretty cool though was the upstairs duplex bit, and the cywch (Welsh word, Google it) in the back which is more than passable for a small gathering. Otherwise, I feel it’s a tad lacking in atmosphere.

Sorry, No Vacancies runs from November until January.

378 Brixton Road
London
SW9 7AW

I was invited by Sorry, No Vacancies to sample the menu and cocktails.