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4 Mill Street
Kurt Zdesar, founder of the Ping Pong dim sum chain as well as Soho’s Chotto Matte, first opened this site as the short-lived Bouillabaisse but has retreated to his comfort zone to produce this dark and glossy proposition touting 2016’s hottest dish: poke, a sort of Hawaiian tartare set to take fashion-conscious, low-carb London by storm. Eight kinds of poke are served, from classic ahi (tuna) to various fish and seafood spins, along with beef and vegetable versions. It’s prettily presented with edible flowers and lotus roots on a bed of rice, with most of the flavour coming from the insistent presence of sesame rather than the fresh chunks of protein; if you love sushi, you’ll like this. The rest of the Pacific Rim menu is similarly on-trend: lobster and crab potsticker dumplings, prawn tempura, smoky lamb rack and a highly Instagrammable whole lobster mac 'n' cheese – all nice enough, but very much priced for the Mayfair postcode, even if the vibe (low lighting, racy neon slogans, a raw bar) is more Soho. Still, there’s no shortage of takers: lunchtime is a hit with the local investment bankers and hedgies, while evenings see a young international clientele nodding along to the moody beats. A £23.50 set lunch offers a gentle way in.
Best fish + seafood restaurants in London
4 Mill Street
Oxford Circus Tube Station 332m
Bond Street Tube Station 535m
Savile Row 136m
Mon-Fri 12N-3pm 6-11pm Sat 1pm-3.30pm 6-11pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
Just had lunch here with a colleague and we were both very impressed with the food.
We shared the beef tataki on sesame rice, with a good kick of chilli and spring onions, prawn tempura (which were HUGE), and whole, so the actual edible bit was somewhat smaller, Cajan style blackened seabass, monkfish and tiger prawns in a citrus salsa, garlic butter fries with yuzu mayo dip, fresh donuts with lemon dip and a chocolate melting cake with ice cream. We seriously considered asking for the menu and trying more, but decided that was enough gluttony for one day and that we really should get back to work.
I really liked the style and layout of the restaurant, mostly booth style seats that look out on the restaurant and they have a couple of larger tables for 6-8 guests – we have already decided to host a corporate dinner here and I am about to make another booking for next week (sadly not for me).
The staff are great, not particularly chatty, but slick and professional. There was a mix of corporate lunches, couples, and a few families with young children, so a nice vibe.
Now for the only negative - the “problem” for me is its’ location, on one of the dingier streets in Mayfair, with 2 not particularly nice pubs, either side and a nightclub opposite. I walk through here numerous times every day and step over rubbish bags, cigarette butts, spilt drinks, broken glass and worse, which is why I hadn’t a) ventured in before and b) had not ear-marked it as somewhere to recommend to colleagues to try (I arrange a lot of corporate lunches and am always on the look-out for good local restaurants).
However, you have won me over and I am now a fan and will sing your praises to anyone who will listen.
Food + drink: 4
Food fashions in London seem almost to change like the seasons. In the last few years, we’ve seen love affairs form both for South American-influenced restaurants (think Coya, Lima, Cerviche) and Asian street food (Bao, Hoppers etc.) among others. Now everyone seems to be talking about poke. Maybe it’s because it’s got a funny name that also seems a little rude. Or, maybe, it really is the next big thing. For those not in the know, poke (pronounced ‘po-kay’) is a raw fish salad served as an appetiser in Hawaiian cuisine. It’s definitely on-trend in the sense that it’s healthy and the portion sizes are small. Into the fray comes Black Roe in Mayfair, a new arrival in March, which seems perfectly to capture the current zeitgeist. The place ticks pretty much all the boxes of what a good and ‘cool’ contemporary London restaurant should be doing. Décor-wise, there are comfy banquettes as well as more conventional tables accompanied by low-lighting, artistic black & white photos and neon signs. A good (and not too obtrusive) soundtrack adds to the vibe. Staff seem knowledgeable and enthusiastic, if a little gauche in their service. In terms of the food, my comrade and I were impressed both by the range and the pricing. Small poke dishes are available at around £8 each and mains are priced from a competitive £10 up to a more challenging £34. We went for the set lunch menu, which at £23.50 for three courses, constituted a clear bargain. I opted for the salmon poke with yellow chilli salsa, while my comrade selected the beef fillet tataki. Both were presented beautifully, but the experience was much more than just visual. The taste sensation was amazing, melt-in-the-mouth lightness and a subtly harmonious mingling of flavours. Onto the mains and we both took the ‘Pacific Rim lunch plate’, a wonderful concept and executed well. Diners receive what I would guess to be the Hawaiian equivalent of a Japanese bento-box; in other words, a selection of Black Roe’s dishes (from raw tuna to blackened sea bass) in different sections on one plate, all again presented with perfection. The meal was topped off with a sublime glass of German Riesling, a good pairing chosen from an inventive and well-priced list. Full marks to Black Roe. And my guess would be that the poke revolution is only just beginning.
Black Roe looks small but I was surprised that at the number of diners they could seat- I'd guess about 40 – 50 diners? Black Roe's bar is right at the back of the room and so walking towards the bar, I could not help but lust over the dishes served. It all look very elegantly plated and the colours of the food were like sunshine. Right, partly it was the dim yellow lighting that seems to make food look more appetising. There is also a private room downstairs which could seat up to 20 diners. On one side of the room there are tanks of fresh lobster and fish and with a semi open kitchen, diners in the private room are not missing any of the fun upstairs.
After a round of cocktails (from £9.50) each, we head to our table with all eagerness and enthusiasm for the food.
My heart skipped a little when I looked at the price list of wine, with the cheapest bottle at £200.00 and runs up to more than £2,000. But then I realised that it was the fine wine list. I started to look at that with a different view. There are more French wines (from chateaus and domaines that I am not familiar with) as well as a couple from Spain and Italy and one each from Australia and USA. As much as I was tempted to go for it, I had to be practical and check out the more affordable wines, which starts from £25.00 onwards.
The star dish of Black Roe is their poké (pronounced “poe-kay”). Poké is popular in Hawaii and is traditionally ahi tuna served with seasoned rice. At Black Roe, apart from the ahi tuna classic, other poké dishes include beef tataki, scallop, vegetable, seabass, yellowtail and salmon (prices from £6.50 - £10.95 for a trio selection). But Black Roe is not only about poké and fish. The hot appetisers (from £7.95 onwards) include some crowd pleaser dishes such as tempura and pot stickers. The main dishes from the Kiawe wood grill offers dishes such as smoky lamb rack, cajun style blackened seabass, bison rib eye steak (from £9.95 - £34.90). A more affordable speedy lunch is available from £13.95 and a 3 course set lunches at £23.50.
On the dessert menu, there is the more prudent style such as chocolate cake, apple tart tatin and a range of ice-cream and sorbets.
salmon poké with yellow chilli salsa £6.95
classic ahi poké with roasted sesame soy marinade £7.95
seabass poké with mustard roe salsa £6.95
asparagus tempura with coriander salsa, truffle aioli £9.95 – beautiful presentation and sound of ingredients but the tempura did not have that tempura crunch and the aioli was not so much to drain the tempura in.
kalua pork belly with mirto puree, apple salsa £12.90 – the pork belly tasted amazing. Well seasoned, soft and moist but has texture, crackling skin and a slight sweet and tangy sauce.
whole lobster mac 'n' cheese £29.95 – the pasta was al dente, just how I like it, and coated with a delightfully cheesy lobster sauce that had small peices of lobster in it, I had to keep picking at it until every last bit was gone!
chicken “spatchcock” with grilled corn salsa £12.50
ahi tataki toasted brioche with piquillo peppers, smoked aji £13.95 – the fish is so meaty it really deserves the name of red meat of the sea. I love raw fish and this was done well.
Black Roe was packed but head chef, Rob Thompson was as calm as still water. He even gave us a kitchen tour himself!
chocolate melting cake with vanilla ice-cream £8.50 – it was a little on the sweet side for me.
fresh doughnuts with lemon sugar and chocolate £7.50 – warm doughnuts with lemon sugar and chocolate was hard not to like. The doughnuts were slightly dense and heavy with more bite and texture. I do prefer it this way than fluffy ones, so I love it.
shake and bake £12.50 – a wow factor. It made me so happy seeing the giant cup with ice-cream, marshmallow, thousands and millions, meringue, ice-cream, chocolate sauce but the best of all, the excitement on my friends' faces too. Was it good? Well, it was not too sweet to start off with but it was great dessert to share and an eye catcher. It was fun.
Service was a little up and down. It started out brilliantly but it was not elegant. I'd say at times, they were rather impolite by interrupting our conversations. Certainly not befitting to the posh image that Black Roe was set up for. Music was definitely too loud.
I like the kind of food served in Black Roe. It certainly appeals and with that slight touch of glamour, I'd certainly say it was a fun evening out. Food was ranging from good to quite good with the desserts not as exciting as the savory dishes. It is expensive but not ludicrous and they give a good portion size for their prices. Remember, it is after all, Mayfair.
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