“Spectacular”, “stunning”, “fabulous” … readers regularly reach for the superlatives when describing Roka’s Fitzrovia flagship, an enduring Japanese hotspot that has been rocking since 2004 and still manages to deliver “a classic London dining experience”.
Much depends on the food, so choose from a sexy line-up of elegant sushi, sashimi, tempura and robata grill selections or splash out on the tasting menu – a well-balanced assortment of beautifully presented dishes that showcase consummate culinary skill and top-quality luxury ingredients.
There are highlights from the very start – notably slivers of yellowtail sashimi in a punchy yuzu and truffle dressing, rock shrimp tempura or precision-engineered avocado maki rolls with crispy prawn. After that, the robata grill kicks in: tender, Korean-spiced lamb cutlets are a top call and cedar-roast chicken comes dressed with chilli and lemon, while the signature black cod marinated in yuzu miso is a silky and savoury delight.
As you’d expect, the wine list features top vintages from big names, but it’s well worth sampling some saké from the extensive selection – although imbibers should head downstairs to the Shochu Lounge for cocktails. Such quality doesn’t come cheap, though Roka’s special-occasion prices are matched by flawless service from a well-honed team of charming staff, while the buzzy vibe is equally suited to date nights and business meets.
Reserve a ringside seat at the sleek polished wood counter around the robata grill to properly experience the theatre, which lasts right through to the lavish dessert platters heaped with exotic fruit. Yes, eating here is a joy from beginning to end.