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Roka’s brand of high-gloss contemporary Japanese food continues to wow the crowds on Charlotte Street and Canary Wharf, and owner Arjun Waney has now launched a further outlet – in the one-time
bank premises formerly occupied by short-lived Italian restaurant, Banca. Once again, the robata grill takes centre stage and many favourite items from Roka’s back catalogue are on show – from lamb
cutlets with Korean spices or black cod marinated in yuzu miso to soft-shell crab with roasted chilli dressing or rice hotpot with king crab and wasabi tobiko, plus a galaxy of sushi and sashimi
recast for glamorous big-city appetites. There are also a cluster of new dishes, and drinkers can enjoy the usual high-end list of sakés, global wines and sexy shochu-based cocktails.
As you walk in, conventional tables are dotted around a huge central area, which is surrounded by a large and beautiful carved piece of wood, where you can sit, eat and watch the chefs in the centre, preparing the food. It would be quite easy to eat on your own here, which I like.And the speciality here is the robatayaki cuisine, which is translated as “fireside cooking”. You and I would describe it as barbecued food. It reminded me of Nobu, not a restaurant I love, with a bit of the silly shouty thing going on between the chefs and it is Japanese food aimed at people who don’t really want the austere sort...
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I’ve been watching the building works, hoping for something I might actually like, or at least not hate. And given the radical transformation, I would never have known I was walking into the same premises, so very different is the feel. All dark wood, moody lighting and buzzy atmosphere, despite only having been open for a week or so, this is much more the ticket. It’s a great fit-out. And given the dearth of smart yet lively places to eat in the vicinity, I predict a long life.As you walk in, conventional tables are dotted around a huge central area, which is surrounded by a large and beautiful carved...
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