Roti, Roppongi

Food & Drink - October 16th, 2009


You know the feeling when you discover a really great restaurant that becomes an instant favorite with you and your friends? Roti is one of those places. A long established destination for Tokyo’s expat and executive communities, it’s not hard to see why.

Positioned distinctly higher than typical chain restaurants yet still affordable enough to visit often, Roti offers high-quality American cuisine, from the now classic rotisserie chicken (from which the name is derived) to regional dishes from places like New Orleans, reflecting the diverse cultural styles of the US.

Bang Bang chicken salad in Roti
To start we chose a customer favorite, the Bang Bang chicken salad, a tower of shredded chicken, carrots, fresh greens, peanuts and fried crispy noodles, all dressed in a sticky sesame dressing with a kick of ginger. The pricing is reasonable at ¥900 for the half size and ¥1,500 for the full size.

Executive chef Ian Tozer has recently made new additions to the fall and winter menu. The classics are still there, but the chef has added a few quality dishes to spice things up for the new season.

The main course was a difficult choice, but in the end we went for the Bourbon Street jambalaya, a new addition to the menu. This classic Creole dish reflects the Spanish and French influences present in New Orleans cuisine. The fiery dish of chicken, peppers and authentic andouille sausage (a creole speciality), was oven cooked with vegetables, spices and long grain rice, and then topped with okra (¥1,800). It takes about 30 minutes to prepare, which was perfect as that gave us time to enjoy a glass or two from Roti’s impressive imported drink selection.

Chef Ian sources selected beers from Britain, including boutique ales such as Hobgoblin and Fiddler’s Elbow. The bar’s selection of micro-brewed beer from the US state of Oregon is a cut above the typical drafts on offer in most Tokyo eateries, and a particularly tasty three-glass beer tasting set is just ¥1,200. Roti’s extensive wine list is worth a mention as well, made up of mainly new world varieties, with affordable and exciting choices to complement the wide ranging menu and more expensive bottles for special occasions. Wine enthusiasts are encouraged to take note that every Tuesday night select bottles are offered at a 25 percent discount.

After our main course the chef recommended we try a dessert, even though we were full from the generous portions of previous courses. We chose a deliciously warm chocolate tart, topped with homemade cappuccino ice cream created by Ian himself with Seattle’s Best espresso beans. All of this was topped off with a sugar cookie for a perfectly delectable end to the meal.

Cajun swordfish burger

Ian’s menu is simple yet creative up-market food. Choices such as the Cajun swordfish burger and the NYC Reuben sandwich have been customer favorites throughout the eight successful years Roti has accumulated in Roppingi, after Ian cut his teeth working in kitchens across the US for several years. He commented that it used to be really difficult to find a good brunch in Tokyo, with most restaurants offering meager portions and limited choices. Roti created a storm when it changed that, raising the bar to meet and surpass customer expectations.

The brunch was extended to all day on Saturday and Sunday, proving just how popular it has become in Tokyo. Many of the clientele don’t want to be restricted by set times, particularly people whose late night at the office may turn into a late night on the town. Noted brunch choices are the ‘three way’ free range eggs Benedict, the blueberry buttermilk pancakes, and the fresh Florida orange juice, made with four oranges for every glass.

A stone’s throw from Roppongi Hills, Roti’s laid back yet stylish atmosphere and customer-friendly appeal make it a great choice for drinks, brunch and extended meals away from the hustle of the big city—without ever leaving Tokyo.

Best table: All are good, or choose the outdoor terrace if weather permits
Prices: Lunch sets from ¥1,400, dinner from ¥3,000 including a drink
Location: In the Piramide building behind the Azabu police station

Open daily (11:30am–5pm, 6–11pm)
6-6-9 Roppongi, Minato-ku
Tel: 03-5785-3671