‘Roka still rocks’, declaims a fan of this long-serving Japanese big-timer – a sexy destination for glamorous encounters, cocktail-fuelled evenings, fabulous saké sipping and innovative, ‘visually stunning’ food. Inside, it’s all clean lines, polished minimalism and swathes of grainy wood, with a blazing robata grill at the centre of the action. Watch as noisy, high-spirited chefs produce sizzling plates of delectable, ‘buttery’ black cod glazed with yuzu miso or lamb cutlets blasted with punchy Korean spices, as well as an extraordinary king crab and wasabi rice hotpot (‘like green-flecked porridge, but with amazing textures and flavours’). Sushi and sashimi are supremely fresh and fashioned with surgical precision (don’t miss the ‘absolutely divine’ butterfish tataki), while desserts bring cheeky crossovers such as honey custard with pink guava, lychee granita and marshmallow. Despite a few grumbles about slapdash service, long waits and wincingly high prices, most punters reckon that rousing Roka can ‘do no wrong’.
Roka’s attempt to make its wine list accessible stood out for two reasons. Firstly, the wines have been chosen with great care to suit the challenges of Japanese food; secondly, the unfussy presentation with reds and whites split by style (‘fruity and velvety’, ‘rich and spicy’, and so on). Even though there’s a lot going on, with ‘Sommelier Selections’ and a ‘Wish List’ of fine wines, it’s easy to navigate.
Travel to Roka in style with London's leading minicab firm Addison Lee.Get a quote »