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4 Park Pavilion, 40 Canada Square
Serving up high glamour among all that bamboo and polished wood, Roka is the antithesis of a modest Japanese restaurant – and that makes it a natural victor among Canary Wharf’s suited-and-booted client-friendly offerings. Readers love the ambience created by a boisterous, enthusiastic crowd, not to mention the “very attentive service” and consistently top-notch food. The bar specialises in shochu (you can even keep a personalised jar for repeat visits), and there’s a terrace too, but the restaurant would argue that the heart of the operation is the robata grill with its line-up of fire-licked specialities such as sweet potato baked in a bamboo husk or baby back ribs in a spiced ‘master stock’ glaze. Elsewhere, you’ll find well-made modern-day sushi and sashimi, “wonderfully delicious” snacks (black cod, crab and crayfish dumplings, say), and specialities such as cedar-roast baby chicken. If you’re here outside the working week, try the all-inclusive koten brunch.
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SquareMeal 2 Stars
4 Park Pavilion, 40 Canada Square
West Ferry Quay Station 150m
Canary Wharf Station 265m
Canary Wharf 45m
Mon-Fri 11.45am-3pm Sat-Sun 11.30am-4pm Mon-Sun 5.30-11pm (Sun -10pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
We have been to Roka many times and each and every time we have an amazing meal! Wonderfully delicious!
Food + drink: 4
The food at Roka is always very good and the waiting staff and very attentive, will return here again.
Good for client meetings in Canary Wharf.
I am something of a Roka veteran, having dined regularly at most of their restaurants with both clients and friends/family for many years. A recent dinner at Charlotte St. was one of my best in London with fantastic food and service that was informed, perceptive, accommodating and clearly focussed on enhancing our dining experience.
So it was with eager anticipation that I booked a table for dinner at Canary Wharf for a family dinner with my wife and adult sons.
We arrived and were shown to our table, ordered water, pre dinner drinks and spicy edamame, all of which arrived promptly as I studied the menu and wine list. The waitress appeared and asked if I needed some help with the menu but I was ready to order. She was confused when I ordered sashimi in multiples (2 orders =6 pieces, 3=9 etc) and had to return to check if we wanted 2 pieces of o-toro or 6. The various portion sizes (5 dumplings, 6 pieces of sushi rolls) and multiples does not make things easy, something my intuitive waiter at Charlotte St. had made much simpler. The sommelier appeared, questioned whether I really wanted the bottle of Mersault I ordered and tried hard to talk me into another style or at least a cheaper bottle. My persistence ended not with success but with an admission that they had run out and a renewed sales pitch for the other bottle to which I had little choice but to succumb. Not big issues, but a growing list of irks was starting to have an effect.
The wine soon arrived and proved a fine alternative, but wasn't cold enough and wouldn't ever be as glasses were refilled after every half sip. Sadly the enthusiasm for bringing drinks didn't extend to my sons' beers and they had several attempts before they were granted a refill.
The food arrived and the race was on. Sashimi and sushi in its many guises, hamachi with truffles, dumplings, rock shrimp and padron pepper tempura all arrived within a minute of each other, crowding the table and sending both our vision and tastebuds into sensory overload. We had been hungry and the food was exquisite as always, but wouldn't it have been better to bring the dishes one or two at a time, allowing us to enjoy them before the next delicious treats arrived? Instead we were bombarded with dishes as if the kitchen was racing to serve us.
No time to rest though. The main dishes arrived even as my wife was on her way to the ladies' and the rest (apart from half the scallops - the old 2 orders of, not 2 scallops dilemma again) before she returned. Not exactly Michelin service etiquette. The lamb cutlets were delicious as was the cod but, had we not had to wait another 8 minutes for the other scallops, the entire meal would have been served in only 24 minutes. Having been bombarded with food for the last half hour, we couldn't even consider dessert. Coffee took longer to arrive than the whole meal, earning Roka a dubious reprieve from turning our table within an hour.
The food was delicious but the pace with which it was served was more suited to a Pizza Hut training academy than a fine dining establishment. I will not be in as much of a hurry to return to Roka Canary Wharf as they seemed to be to get us out the door.
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