Contemporary Japanese Robatayaki
Roka is the sister restaurant of Zuma and both offer a sophisticated twist on the traditional Japanese Izakaya style of informal eating and drinking. Roka itself is beautifully designed, with it’s floor to ceiling glass to the street and hefty knotted wood counter surrounding the open kitchen.
All of the Izakaya restaurants I’ve been to in Japan (which you can read more about here) are very reasonably priced and are the kinds of places you could happily afford to go to every week. Roka is several levels of expense above that. The menu hay have changed since I went but here’s what we ordered (between 4ppl):
- Spicy yellowfin tuna maki roll
- Softshell crab, cucumber, kimchi and chilli mayo maki roll
- Tempura vegetables (9 types)
- Beef, ginger and sesame gyoza
- Baby back ribs glazed with a spiced master stock and cashew nuts
- Flame grilled tofu, barley miso, ginger and shichimi pepper
- Black cod marinated in yuzu miso and homemade hajikami
- Tender stem brocolli, ginger and moromi miso
- Robata grilled sea bass, yuzu-shiso and ginger seaweed salad
- Beef fillet, chilli, ginger and spring onion
- Orange and almond cake
- Sobacha creme brulee with ginger ice cream
All the food was beautifully balanced as had all the delicate flavouring you expect from good Japanese food. Gorgeous presentation and a menu you want to order everything from. The Baby back ribs were a particular highlight for me as was the Black cod marinated in yuzu miso and homemade hajikami.
Similar to Ottolenghi on Upper Street, Roka takes it’s toll on your bank balance – the bill came to £70 a head and I didn’t think the portions were particularly generous, but again the food is very good and if you’re going to go to a high end Japanese restaurant in central London then, inevitably it’s going to cost you.
I felt some dishes were overpriced but I expect that’s down to the quality of the ingredients, which are all of a high standard. Great place to go to if you’re trying to impress someone or just fancy splashing out.
Some images courtesy of Roka.