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|Address:||37 Charlotte Street, London W1T 1RR|
|Tel:||020 7580 6464|
|Price: £88.00||Wine: £24.00||Champagne: £46.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12N-3.30pm (Sat-Sun 12.30-4pm) 5.30-11.30pm (Sun -10.30pm)|
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We had a contrasting experience at Roka when we went a month or so ago. It's a lively fun place to be – the robata grill dominating the dining room has the desired effect of adding to the hustle and bustle, and really making the customers feel part of the food prep (as well as tasting) experience.
The food was phenomenal with highlights being the sashimi, rock shrimps, and particularly the lamb cutlets. The ubiquitous black cod didn't disappoint. The only slight miss for me was the rice hot pot with king crab – lots of it, but fairly tasteless and bland. Food was quick but not the relentless procession that can sometimes happen at asian restaurants.
The 2 hour table turning was, however, religiously stuck to. We had booked at 8pm and thought that meant we might escape being kicked off as the clock turned 10. No such luck – at 9.45 waitresses turned from smiling to surly, and by 9.50 the bill had come without prompting. By 10.05 two of our party had gulped down their (too expensive) wine whilst the other two were moved with glasses still half full. That's not as appalling here as it may be at other places given the very cool downstairs bar which we re-located to, but it still left a black mark over the experience, and unfairly tarnished the excellent food. When paying such high prices, the situation needs to be managed with much more respect.
So, in summary, top class Japanese food – just don't savour it for too long or you'll be asked to leave…