Flatiron Lunch: Kati Roll has Competition From Roomali

Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.

Since learning about rumali (or roomali) rotis during my trip to India, I have been meaning to try out Roomali in Curry Hill. In case you were wondering, the name rumali roti translates to “handkerchief roti” because they are as thin as a, you guessed it,  handkerchief. Unlike naan, which is put in an clay oven, rumali rotis are tossed like pizza dough and cooked briefly on a dome heated from inside. Notably, Roomali doesn’t serve their rolls in rumali rotis. Strange, I know.

Previously, I walked by and checked out the menu, but I must have forgotten that they serve kathi (or kati) rolls, because I would have been here months ago. The interior is a little hole-in-the-wall like, so some might prefer to take their rolls to-go.

I figured the only fair way to review Roomali would be to over-order rolls. Not at all for selfish reasons…Not. At. All.

The paneer chillie included grilled paneer and plenty of green sauce and onions. It was perfect.

After mentioning that I like it spicy, the guy taking my order suggested the aloo masala. I thought the potatoes were well flavored (and a little more spicy than the other rolls), and I would order it again.

I should have realized this in advance, but all the non-veg rolls come with a thin layer of egg. It also has a little lemon (very subtle) and spiced onions. The chicken tikka and Bihari kabob (chicken) were both outstanding. Not at all dry.

It was mostly white meat with some dark meat (at least from what I noticed in the Bihari kabob).

The lamb seekh kabob was dry, which I think was a result of grilling the kebob too far in advance. The green sauce served on the side helped a little, but this was by far my least favorite.

I’m not sure if I was given a side of coriander chutney for each roll because I had mentioned that I like spicy food or if that is the norm. But it was too beautiful to not take a photo.

Now onto the important discussion about strategies regarding cost and getting the most food possible at Roomali. Since the vegetable rolls are either 2 for $9 or 2 for $10 depending on the fillings and all chicken and lamb rolls 2 for $11 and since it is well known that most people need two rolls for a normal lunch, I think you are going to need a lunch buddy for Roomali. If your lunch buddy orders a pair of veg rolls for $9 and you order a pair of meat rolls for $11 and you go halfsies, you both get to try two different rolls and it is only $10 for each of you.

Alternatively, you could get a single roll and a mango lassi for $7-$8. I have never met a mango lassi I could finish in one sitting, and this one was no exception. It was especially thick, so if you are looking to fill up, you can’t go wrong with a $2 mango lassi.

THE + (What people who like this place will say)

  • So happy for any restaurant serving kati rolls.
  • It seems Roomali has more roll options than Kati Roll Company.
  • Four out of five ain’t bad.

THE – (What people who don’t like this place will say)

  • I want two meat kati rolls for $10.
  • Shame that the lamb seekh kebob is uninspiring.
  • No atmosphere to stay and eat.

Roomali, 97 Lexington Avenue around the corner on 27th Street, (212) 679-8900


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