Flaky parathas, succulent, spicy meat and onions—kati rolls may have just three elements, but it’s enough for Kolkatans to swear by them. Named after the bamboo sticks (kathi) originally used to skewer and cook meat, kati rolls have been around since the British rule. Metal skewers have replaced the bamboo sticks, but the name stuck and kathi rolls still remain a street food favourite. Some like it slathered in sauces, while some like it with a dash of lime, whatever be the casy, the City of Joy has a roll that is made for you. We asked the city’s foodies for their pick of Kolkata’s best kati rolls.
Best kati rolls in Kolkata
Anamika Roll Centre, New Alipore; Kusum Rolls, Park Street; Sher-e-Punjab, Shakespeare Sarani
“Anamika rolls (Sahapur, New Alipore; call 8820061334 to order) are a childhood memory for me. Their rolls are very light and easy on the stomach. It’s a lesser-known space in the city, literally a hole in the wall. Kusum Rolls (21, Park St, Taltala; order on Zomato or call 8274030009) and Sher-e-Punjab (7/1A, A.J.C. Bose Road, Near Kala Mandir, Theatre Road; order on Zomato or call 3322414232) are both iconic and need no introduction. My favourites are the egg roll from Kusum’s and the paneer tikka roll from Sher-e-Punjab.” Saloni Jhunjhunwala, The Salt House
Zeeshan Mughlai Restaurant, Park Circus; Campari, Gariahat
“You’ll probably not hear about Zeeshan (9/A, Syed Amir Ali Ave, Park Circus, Ballygunge; order on Zomato or call 9748766338) as a roll recommendation but I love their rolls for the parathas especially. They make these extremely flaky, crisp parathas that have a hint of sweetness. It’s a brilliant counterpoint to the spicy, hot stuffing and chicken. That’s something that I love. There is another roll which I quite like and have grown up eating- Campari (155B, Rash Behari Ave, Dover Terrace, Ballygunge; order on Zomato or call 9874940570) in Gariahat. It might be a marginally healthier option because the parathas have very little oil. They are dry and light. They have a kebab-like stuffing and there’s a rich, smokiness to the chicken. But the best thing that they do is their chicken cutlet. So, if you go there for a roll, you might as well get a chicken cutlet. Some of these places also make amazing mutton tikiya rolls, which is just so good. It’s basically fried patties of minced meat. It’s stewed for a long time in this gravy, and what the sellers do is that they take the tikiyas out of the gravy and wrap it in parathas along with onions.
Kusum Rolls and Hot Kati Roll, Park Street
“Over the years, the kati roll has gained so much popularity that it’s hard to confine it to just one genre of food. It can be a quick lunch, a snack, a celebratory meal or a meal on the go. The versatility lies in the fact that it can be highly customised, everything is available and possible. Egg, egg-chicken, double egg-chicken, alu-anda, alu-cheese—every roll maker makes traditional rolls and has their own innovations too. In my opinion, the best roll is determined by not only the quality of the grilled meat, but also how crispy the paratha is. Everyone has their favourites but mine are Kusum Rolls and Hot Kati Roll (1, Park St, Dharmatala, Park Street area; order on Zomato or call 9007196639) on Park Street. The parathas are very flaky and crispy, and the kebabs are well done.” Anindya Basu, food writer and food photographer
Nizam’s, New Market Area; Arsalan Restaurant, Park Circus Area; Jai Hind Dhaba, Paddapukur; Kareem’s, Park Street Area;
“In Kolkata, there are lots of different types of kati roll. If you are looking at the most popular one, that’s definitely Nizam’s (23 & 24, Hogg St, near Axis Bank Atm, New Market Area, Dharmatala, Taltala; order on Zomato or call 7044723222). Nizam’s originally created the entire kebab roll scene. If you go beyond that, there is Abdul Khalique & Sons (27, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road, New Market Area; call 8420423132 to order) which is good and there is a different style of roll at Campari. Campari is very well-known for their chicken roll. They make a Bangali-style roll, which means that the roll has a lighter and thinner paratha, with chicken that is less spiced. It’s altogether lighter. One other place worth mentioning is Zeeshan. Zeeshan has been making kebab rolls for ages but their tikiya roll is seriously awesome. One more place that really works for me, surprisingly, is Arsalan (28, Circus Avenue, Near A.J.C. Bose Road Flyover, Park Circus Area; order on Zomato or call 9007007921). Most people ignore it but Arsalan actually makes really good rolls. When it comes to rumali roti rolls, there are 3 names that always stand out for me. Some of my favourites are Jai Hind Dhaba (41/1A, Sarat Bose Road, Paddapukur; order on Zomato or call 3324769033), Sharma Dhaba (17/1B, Ballygunge Circular Road, Near Ballygunge Maidan Camp; order on Zomato or call 3324763675) and Chaccha Jaan (5, Chowbhagha Road, CN Roy Road, Picnic Garden; order on Zomato or call 9883704943). They make what is known as the rumali roti kebab roll. It’s a whole rumali roti wrapped over a kebab and served with mint chutney. This is a very heavy roll, but it’s really great. For a slightly posh roll, I would say one of my favourites is this place called Kareem’s (55 B, Mirza Ghalib Street, Park Street Area; order on Zomato or call 9007686300) which is in Park Street. The other really giant and heavy roll we have in Kolkata is Jabbrr Afghani’s (Plot No. J 1/16, Shaila Tower, beside CCD, GP Block, Sector V, Bidhannagar; call 8017222225 to order) rolls, and that roll is really huge!” Poorna Banerjee, food writer