Su-Lin1 and Su-Min (yup,my brother)2*
1West London, UK
2Somewhere north of London, UK
The Kati Roll Company (KRC)  is a New York chain of restaurants offering Indian wraps based on a street food originating from Kolkata in India . A kati roll is defined as a flatbread wrapping a mixture of spiced meat and vegetables. Mooli’s is a recent addition to Frith Street and also offers Indian wraps. While Mooli’s has recently been making news in the blogs, coverage of KRC has been more quiet.
The aim of this paper is to compare the Indian wraps offered in London’s Soho. Samples of Indian wraps from both KRC and Mooli’s were obtained and compared. The results of the comparative analysis of the wraps are presented here. The paper concludes with a discussion of both rolls and restaurants.
1. The Kati Roll Company
Samples were obtained from KRC at 13:00 on 24 December, 2009. A chicken tikka roll and a shami kebab roll (comprised of spiced minced lamb) were procured as representative examples of the genre. The two rolls were shared equally between the two researchers and eaten on the premises. Figure 1 shows the rolls purchased.
Figure 1. A chicken tikka roll and a shami kebab roll from KRC.
A sample was obtained from Mooli’s at 14:00 on 24 December, 2009. As the lunch special seemed to be a good deal, this was purchased. A Goan pork with pomegranate salsa mooli, roasted papads with tomato chutney, and two lime and mint drinks were obtained. This was split equally between the two researchers and consumed on the premises. Figure 2 shows the Mooli’s roll.
Figure 2. A Goan pork wrap from Mooli’s.
The preparation and presentation of the wraps, flavour of the wraps, restaurant environments, service, and price were analysed and compared for each location.
1. The Wraps
A comparison of the wraps procured and tasted is presented in Table 1. With respects to size, the KRC roll was described as being a perfect snack size (two for a meal) while the Mooli’s roll was enough for a meal.
Table 1. A comparison of the wraps from both restaurants.
|Size (approx)||4cm diameter, 18cm long||6cm diameter, 18cm long|
|Wrap||Fried, flaky, like a paratha||Roti, not fried, no oil, partly made with wholewheat flour|
|Meat Content (approx % of filling volume)||90||20|
|Vegetable Content (approx % of filling volume)||10||80|
|Spice Level||Quite spicy||Needs more spice|
|Estimated Healthiness||Not so much||Very|
The KRC rolls were chock full of meat and in the case of the chicken tikka roll, a bit of onion too. The Mooli’s roll was as big as a fast food burrito but mainly contained a lot of salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomato). Figure 3 illustrates the cross sections of the KRC rolls while Figure 4 shows the innards of the Mooli’s roll.
Figure 3. Cross sections of the KRC rolls: (left) chicken tikka and (right) shami kebab.
Figure 4. Inside the Mooli’s roll.
3. Restaurant Environment
The walls of KRC were filled with Bollywood film posters and the restaurant itself was filled with low tables with stools. Ordering was done at the small counter at the back. A drinks fridge was positioned on the left hand side and was filled with all the usual soft drinks.
Mooli’s looked newer, with colourful postcards scattered everywhere and flat screens displaying their menu. Seating was at counters along the sides or at a few regular tables in the centre. Again, ordering was done at the counter at the back.
Service was found to be excellent at both restaurants. The women at the counters were happy to explain the ideas behind the wraps and the flavours within too. At Mooli’s, the researchers were offered complimentary chai teas, after their meal, which were accepted.
The KRC chicken tikka roll was priced at £3.25 for one (two for £6.00). The KRC shami kebab roll was priced at £3.75 for one (two for £7.00).
The Mooli’s lunch special deal was priced at £5.00 for the roll, roasted papads with tomato chutney, and a soft drink. The roll can be bought individually at £3.95. The extra lime and mint juice drink was obtained for £2.00.
The prices of all the rolls at both locations is summed up in Table 2.
Table 2. Mean and standard deviation of the roll prices at both KRC and Mooli’s.
|Single Roll||£3.50 ± 0.66||£3.82 ± 0.18|
|Mini Rolls||N/A||£2.42 ± 0.10|
|Lunch Special||N/A||£5.00 for a roll, roasted papads and tomato chutney, and a soft drink|
Discussion and Conclusion
KRC offers delicious kati rolls with nicely spiced fillings. There is a wide variety of fillings, with all of them available with a spicy egg omelette also. However, while the price of a single roll is reasonable, one requires at least two to fill up, making KRC the more expensive option. As well, there are no interesting drinks (except for chai) nor are there any side dishes available. A few sandwiches with Indian fillings are offered.
Mooli’s strength lies in their satellite offerings: their roasted papads were good and crunchy (Figure 5), the juice drinks excellent (lassis are also available), desserts are offered, as well as a number of sauces for the wraps. Their wraps are very healthy but require more spice in the filling. Apart from wraps, they also offer a no-carbohydrate version as a salad.
Figure 5. Roasted papads with tomato chutney from Mooli’s.
To conclude, the researchers favoured the KRC kati rolls but Mooli’s wraps are not to be dismissed. The former is more of a treat with its fried bread but the latter is healthier and more suited to everyday lunching.
 The Kati Roll Company, 24 Poland Street, London, W1F 8QL.
 Kati Roll, Wikipedia.
 Mooli’s, 50 Frith Street, London, W1D 4SQ.
* Yeah, my brother and I have matching names and they did make for some confusing moments growing up! And we’re both quite nerdy and we wrote this post together for a laugh during the Christmas holidays.