If you’re not waxing lyrical about this restaurant after your meal…
…well, you’d have to be off your Roka.
Especially if you have the chance to visit the one that started it all, slapped right in the middle of Charlotte Street – London’s own de facto restaurant capital – surrounded by places like The Ninth; Koya; and the endearingly twee Bourne and Hollingsworth.
Walk in, and you’ll be greeted by a charming front of house who will take your coat and then guide you to your table. It’s a beautiful space, centred around a huge robata grill. You’ll make a mental note to ask for a front row seat next time; one of about thirty chairs placed in a horseshoe around the grill from which you can watch the chefs masterfully conducting their own sections, chopping, moulding, and plating, whilst smoke billows and flames dance behind them.
One wall sees golden waves running across it, another’s decorated in shochu infusions (Japanese spirits infused in-house with anything from cherry to coffee), which, as you let your eyes drift back to the table and the drinks menu in front of you, you realise make up a number of the cocktails. We’ll come back to those later. For now, there’s,
Standout dishes include the seaweed and watercress salad with bamboo, honey and sansho dressing; the yellowtail sashimi with yuzu-truffle dressing; and rock shrimp tempura with a deliciously pink mayonnaise. As dishes arrive, you order more. Another and you undo your jeans. Then, just as you’re about to suggest getting the bill, your waiter turns back up and asks if you’ll be having a nightcap in the downstairs bar. On to,
As well as a decent selection of wines, and an even better selection of sakes, both the restaurant and bar serve a pretty immense cocktail selection including everything from a fig manhattan (bulleit rye whiskey, fig liqueur dry vermouth, and angostura bitters), and a shochu on the beach (cherry shochu, pineapple & cranberry, peach liqueur, passionfruit, and lime) to the Rum Ronin (rum, tobacco essence, and chocolate bitters). You go downstairs where you opt for a Twinkle. It’s a mix of vodka, elderflower cordial, and champagne. It comes in a fancy glass and it’s delicious.
Then you Roka on home.
NOTE: Roka Charlotte Street is open daily for lunch and dinner. To take a look at their menu, make a booking or find out more, visit their website HERE.
Roka Charlotte Street | 37 Charlotte Street, W1T 1RR
Big fan of Japanese cuisine? Check out Koya Bar.