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08.03.2017

Like many of Bangalore’s well-travelled sophisticates, we enjoy the occasional foray into exotic foreign food. Yes, we’ve been known to crave a nice soft phulka from across the Vindhyas now and again, even dough it’s a rarity in Bangalore. (See our North Indian’s survival guide to Bangalore for the stuff the city does get right.) 

For sniffy South Indians and homesick Northies, Hussain Saifi and his sister-in-law Aniqua Jaffrey are forming a perfect circle. Their new service Roti Rollers - you may know it from the eye-catching flyers around Koramangala - delivers hot, fresh rotis in the area, available daily via a subscription or on two-hour pre-order via WhatsApp. For this import, you may thank Hussain’s hometown of Bhopal, which he misses for its rotis as slim and slinky as court dancers. Bereft in Bangalore, he’s been driven to bring his own floury fantasies to fruition. Atta-boy!

Sharbat Hoover

“Everyone might want to eat roti, but making it is a time-consuming process. That’s where we come in: to plug the basic need,” Hussain promises. Roti Rollers makes rotis, phulkas, and a variety of plain and stuffed parathas. They’re already churning out upwards of 300 rotis a day, serving their first dozen regular subscribers, who range from lonely young bachelors to overworked mothers. 

“Most store-bought rotis are fat and doughy, while restaurants use maida in the mix,” Hussain says mournfully of his competition. “To ensure that the rotis are not rubbery, we use a certified quality of Sharbati atta.”  Everything, he swears, is made freshly to order. 

For sniffy South Indians and homesick Northies, Hussain Saifi and his sister-in-law Aniqua Jaffrey are forming a perfect circle. Their new service, Roti Rollers delivers hot, fresh rotis in the area.

Naan-Performing Assets

In order to test these Bhopal-inspired rotis, we get a clean-living single man in Koramangala - yes, they exist! - to make some chicken curry and promise to bring the bread. Roti Rollers’ WhatsApp service is smooth and fuss-free: exactly two hours after the order, rotis arrive neatly encased in foil, with a side of mango pickle. They aren’t quite steaming when we open the packaging, but retain a remarkable amount of moisture and freshness. 

The stuffed parathas taste like home cooking, creamy on the tongue and well-balanced in flavour. Aloo paratha could do with a smidge more stuffing, but the paneer paratha is a real winner, baby-soft and mildly but bracingly spiced with cumin. The RR signature roti definitely deserves a meed of praise. Ambitiously sized, it feels oddly like eating a thepla made of atta.  Thinly rolled-out and shockingly soft, it acts as the perfect supporting cast to a main meal. 

Our Koramangala sweetie is impressed, too, and tries to curb his enthusiasm.  “It’s not a wow experience, it is just roti after all,” he says, whipping out his phone to sign up for a subscription. “But it involves zero effort on my part!” 

Hussain tells us that the effort is currently displaced on one single staffer at Roti Rollers, who makes all the dabbas for now. He’s hoping to start delivery outlets in more neighbourhoods soon, though, and hire more women looking for part-time employment to play starring rolls. Smile, Bangalore: knead-based aid is at hand.

Getting there: Roti Rollers, order via WhatsApp on 8349356460; subscribe via their Facebook page. Currently delivering in Koramangala, HSR Layout and BTM; for the rest of the city, orders must exceed Rs 300. 9 stuffed parathas, 3 signature RR rotis and 3 chappatis cost Rs 243.

Image credit: Epilogue, 2010-11, by Jitish Kallat.

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