Roka is one my favourite overall Japanese restaurant in London (note for specific things like sushi, okonomiyaki etc I prefer some other Japanese restaurants), and I do maintain this after my last visit. Roka is a sister restaurant to Zuma (MMMMM), another excellent Japanese restaurant in London and has two branches in London, the original one, located on Charlotte street in Fitzrovia, and a more recent branch in Canary Wharf. Roka also has a very cool and funky bar where you can go before or after your meal and even have some of the dishes from Roka there.
Last time I went to Roka was with my boyfriend and my mum and we had an incredible meal. The only funny/ annoying thing though was that the waiter told me I could not take any pictures of the food with my big cannon camera as there are "celebrities that frequently visit Roka and they feel uncomfortable when they see a professional camera", I obviously thought this was a very pretentious and untrue statement until Guy Richie walked in with his family (knowing my luck I did not see him as I was in the bathroom at that particular time, but my mum did see him). Note I did break the rules though and sneakily (as sneakily as you can with a massive camera) tried to take pictures of the food, so you can see below a few of the pictures that I managed to take.
At the beginning of the meal we had the edamame beans (nice, good quality, not very different to edamame beans in other top restaurants) and rock shrimp tempura (note this was much better than the rock shrimp tempura I had in Nobu last time when I was there, as I thought the Nobu one had too much batter, but then again in Roka they only give you 1 sauce to go with the rock shrimp tempura instead of 3 different ones you get in Nobu). Afterwards we all shared a nigiri (sushi) selection and a sashimi selection, which both were top class, super delicious, but not very different to Nobu, Zuma (Yashin still does better sushi in my view). At the beginning we also had a seaweed salad, which was amazing, and a yellow tail salad, which consisted of very very very thinly cut pieces of yellowtail with a wonderful dressing (note I slightly prefer the slightly bigger pieces of yellowtail you get in Zuma and also the yellowtail dish in Yashin, just because I love yellowtail and want to feel it a bit more in my mouth, but I am just being greedy).
We also had the "Gindara to Gani no Gyoza" which is the “black cod, crab and crayfish dumplings roasted chilli and ponzu dressing” and the vegetable tempura, and I have to say that I thought this was the best tempura I have had in a Japanese restaurant, because of the sauce that came with it. Two sauces were served with the tempura and one of them was the usual tempura sauce, but the other one was slightly spicier version and the most amazing sauce I have ever had with my tempura. This is a small little touch, but to me as a big tempura fan, this meant a great deal.
After the starter dishes we moved on to main course and we had the black cod marinated in yuzu misu (lovely, as good as black cod gets, but not different to the one in NOBU and Zuma), chicken (very delicious), sea bass (this was probably my least favourite dish here as it did not have a nice/ interesting flavour, although much nicer than some of the other sea basses I have had in other places), with a side of broccoli and mushrooms and rice, all of which were wonderfully cooked.
I also very much like the menu composition in Roka, as you can see there many different types of dishes, and you can move so easily from the lighter fish dishes to the cooked ones. I always have such a wonderful meal there, every time I go there I think about the meal for several days afterwards (hence the high rating), I love ambience (somehow it feels more welcoming and more intimate than some of the other Japanese restaurants) and all the food dishes are top class. Roka serves some of the most delicious food you will have in London.
Date: 30/ 06/ 2012