Roka Canary Wharf

Silver Award
16 Reviews
££££
Japanese

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SquareMeal Review of Roka Canary Wharf

Silver Award

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.


Good to know about Roka Canary Wharf

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
Japanese
Ambience
Big and bold, Cool, Fun, Glamorous
Food Occasions
Brunch
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating
People
Child friendly, Romantic, Special occasions

Location for Roka Canary Wharf

4 Park Pavilion, 40 Canada Square, London, E14 5FW

020 7636 5228

Website

Opening Times of Roka Canary Wharf

Mon-Fri 11.45am-3pm Sat-Sun 11.30am-4pm Mon-Sun 5.30-11pm (Sun -10pm)

Reviews of Roka Canary Wharf

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16 Reviews
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Service
Atmosphere
Value

Ms/Mrs. Nina K

Amazing, as always!
23 May 2016
We have been to Roka many times and each and every time we have an amazing meal! Wonderfully delicious!
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Ms/Mrs. Charlotte H

Lovely restaurant, good location
07 April 2016
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.
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drew H

What's the rush?
30 December 2015
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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Loved it
12 June 2015
Went for lunch and it was amazing, service is second to none really enjoyed it
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Mr. Stuart C

21 April 2014
When I worked in Canary Wharf, it lacked decent restaurants so we were all delighted when Roka added Canada Sq to its Charlotte Street operation. Since moving, I have been back and it was still offering much the same. The frequent debate is rating Nobu, Roka, Zuma and Hakkasan and everyone has their favourite. I would say that Roka is right up there but would probably not recommend CW unless you're in the vicinity. it just seems to lack that special something that Charlotte St and Mayfair most definitely do have. That said, the food remains excellent. Yellowfin tuna, rock shrimp tempura and blackened cod and I'm a happy man.
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Ms/Mrs. Lucy L

Never fails to impress
08 January 2014
Working in Canary Wharf I go to Roka often but I especially like my annual Christmas jaunt with my out of town girls. They are always blown away by the food – as am I. Delicious hot favourites in the black cod and the ribs along with superb sushi and soups – waiters always on standby with suggestions and tips. Pre dinner cocktails are always top class and the service is excellent and consistent. Never fails to impress.
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Ms/Mrs. Cristina M

Amazing sushi
18 November 2013
Having dined at the trendy Charlotte Street branch of Roka I was somewhat dubious whether the Canary Whalf branch could live up to the same expectations – well I wasn't disappointed. Having spend an hour ice skating on the rink directly opposite the restaurant, my partner, our 6 year old daughter and I went into Roka for dinner – our request of a window table was acknowledged and granted. The food, what can I say – was out of this world, and presented really quickly. We had a mix of various sushi (spicy tuna, yellowtail and asparagus, salmon/avocado etc) – all of which were delightful, the yellowtail sashimi in truffle sauce was outstanding – our six year old hogged this particular plate to herself! The black cod, is expensive, but worth every penny. At nearly £200 with alcohol it is not a cheap night out – but the food and atmosphere (hedkandi type relaxed but clubby music on the Saturday night we visited) is well worth splashing out. Do book – the restaurant was packed.
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Mr. Lawrence R

Excellent all round
06 August 2013
An all round fantastic restaurant, we have been to Zuma and I was considering Oblix (which has mixed reviews) however the reviews looked great for Roka. Therefore my wife and I went with good expectations to Charlotte Street. We were not disappointed. The restaurant has outstanding presentation and a great atmosphere. We had two courses which included Tuna tataki and Seabass with no wine and the price was under £60, which is pretty good for such a top end restaurant. I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to try great food and likes cutting edge style. You won't be disappointed.
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Chris C

Nouvelle meets sushi
02 July 2013
We had a hankering for sushi and this seemed the best choice on the island. Sure enough, very nice, sleek and elegant restaurant once inside. We ended a few sushi, a tempura prawn and a chicken rice bowl. All was very good, the sushi was mini sized though (hence my title) so probably needed to order more than we thought, nice big prawns for the tempura the rice was nice but took an age to come and ‘coincidently’ arrive almost immediately after we chased to see where it was. But brings me to the large downside, service was low and inattentive, having to flag down waiters from across the restaurant for the bill and to chase our rice. Which greatly reduced the overall experience. The bill came to about £70 and we only had a coke and a tea to drink, so expensive for what we had albeit nice food. So more suited/ priced for n evening out than lunch.
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Ms/Mrs. Helen L

16 October 2012
Roka is my happy place. The clean, modern lines are softened by a wall of glowing filigree which stops the decor feeling austere, along with acres of warm wood and low lighting. Chillout beats and the occasional trumpeting of samba create are at once devastatingly cool but also casual and laid-back. It’s a suitably modern mix for Canary Wharf with the added bonus of actually having some soul. To my surprise, I’m equally welcome here in my ‘comfort trousers’ as I am in a rather snappier suit. (The former's a strategic move: the impressive girth of the waistband is considerably accommodating, plus it's easier to sidle up to the pass in flats). The whole restaurant transforms into an altogether more relaxed affair amid the Sunday lunch hullabaloo, when kids have a ball with their free bento boxes and adults over-indulge on endless food and wine. Given you could easily pay double or three times the £39 flat brunch rate if you’re dining at any other time of day, it’s a killer deal and you'd be well advised to book ahead. The premise is simple: take your seat and order a bellini or make your own customised Bloody Mary. It’s like a grown-up, boozy sweet shop: wasabi, spiced salt and a lively medley of other embellishments. Granted, my attempt was rubbish – fiercely hot and acidic – but I learned from my mistakes and entrusted my cocktail to the barman next time. A boundless buffet awaits, but this spread trounces your average salad bar. There’s shedloads for veggies, although you may want to dodge some of the salads where fish sauce and seaweed wriggle their way in unannounced. (There’s an army of chefs busily trimming sashimi or generating fire and sparks across the counter, so it’s easy to de-riddle any mystery dishes). Some of the most enviable recipes are the simple, silken broths. Dressed up with nothing more than fat, slippery udon or a clam or two, I doubt I’ll ever taste stock so rich in chickeny-goodness again unless I hoard a million carcasses. With three soups on the go each time we’ve visited, I’m happy to breeze past the perfectly pert sushi for a piece of the noodle action. Each morsel is a veritable feast of lip-smacking, with flavours that uniformly delight and surprise. It’s a genuinely exciting meal with a tendency to render us wide-eyed, daft and disarmed with anticipation. As a keen cook with a healthy spice rack, I can confidently say I often have no idea what I’m tucking into (in a good way)! Chilled chicken thigh, having been marinated and deep fried, has phenomenal texture and oodles of flavour, but I can’t even begin to point a finger at the ingredients. Umeboshi? Tamarind? Suffice to say, it’s an umami party in your palate. After the starter extravaganza, I wrestle with my appetite to order just one main from the menu. I’m always tempted by the Japanese mushroom rice pot, but my intentions are always trumped by the clatter and activity emerging from the robata grill. Korean lamb is zesty, zingy and a bit on the peculiar side; caramel pork belly with pear is obscenely good. We typically falter long before pud, but it's worth stealing the resolve to leave space. Desserts are as elegant as they are intriguing and tasty; not for Roka is the ubiquitous chocolate fondant or sticky toffee pud. Think green tea, nutty crumbs and divine mousses, garnished with refreshing and exotic fruits. And the wine… well, the choice of four superb bottles (we recommend the PX) on top of beauteous, unlimited juices only add to the restaurant’s overall polish. Service is professional and slick (albeit a tad serious), but the animated chatter brought about by the culinary titillation gives this place a serious buzz.
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