Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Roka, Fitzrovia

Roka has been top of my I'd-like-to-go-there-but-will-never-afford-it list. I mean, god - the menu on the website doesn't even list prices. You know what they say about those kind of places; if you have to ask how much, it means you can't afford it. Which is why I leapt at the kind offer of lunch there.

Packed to the rafters one lunchtime, there were a lot of business meetings going on. We were sat at the bar in near the robata grills, chefs busy working away. The menu is long; split into sashimi, sushi, soups, rice dishes, seafood and meat grills, I stared dumbfoundedly for a few moments.

Edamame glistened with salt flakes and were lovely served warm. A red miso soup had a real punch to it, a depth that its white sister lacks.

Yellowtail, salmon and tuna sashimi was served on an enormous bowl of chipped ice. Cut thickly, the fish was beautifully fresh, though I winced at its price tag in the late teens.

Tuna, pickled mooli and shiso leaf sushi was gorgeous. Ever so lightly battered and deep fried so that the seaweed was crispy, I wondered how on earth they got this done without cooking its innards. The mooli had a slight tang to it, lifted by the minced shiso. I was glad our waitress recommended this.

Two scallops (at a whopping £13 or so) were served with wasabi mayonnaise. Big fat specimens, the char of the grill deepened the flavour of the flesh and kept them transluscent and juicy inside.

I'm not one to pass up on aubergine, you know that. These were soft, silken and sweet. A perfect example. I hogged it.

I found it difficult to taste the smokiness in the smoked duck breast, but the kumquat and persimmon sauce worked well in its tart sweetness with the richness of the duck fat. Sliced ever so thinly, the meat was tender, the skin crisp.

Sesame and honey chicken wings were the biggest bargain at £4.90. Dipped into the salt mixed with lime juice, these had me licking my fingers in the most unseemly manner.

Rock shrimp tempura'd was served with a chilli mayonnaise. While addictive (they reminded me of KFC's popcorn chicken in that sense) they were fairly one dimensional in flavour, though expertly and greaselessly fried.

Given it was a mid-week lunch, I had to rudely run off before we had even asked for the bill, leaving my companion sat on his own. Honestly, why can't we have two hour lunch breaks?

When I receive my unexpected windfall of dosh, I'll be back for the rest of the menu.


37 Charlotte Street
London W1T 1RR

Tel: 020 7580 0220

Roka on Urbanspoon


PlumLeaf 李葉 said...

Maybe great to run (even if back to the office) before you saw the bill - might've made you feel ill - even though a treated lunch!

Beautiful photos!

Helena Lee said...

I'm in love with Roka. There. I've said it.

Like you I used to baulk at spending that much on food. Drink on the other hand.. means Shochu lounge underneath is definitely allowed. same kitchen, nicer on the wallet and too-good cocktails.

Unknown said...

I recommend their black cod: there's nothing else like it. Good buzzy atmosphere too. It's my current favourite along with the Woseley.

catty said...

It's an amazing restaurant, despite the scary price tag! Been there a couple of times and I think it works out to be at least £40-£50pp, with few drinks... but yeah, when you get your dosh, go back :D

thewanderingfoody said...

I've never been to Roka either.. but now I really want to try those scallops!

Rimbaud said...

I love how concise your reviews are. Makes such a refreshing change from the wanky self-indulgent bilge you find on some other blogs.

Ute@HungryinLondon said...

looks beautiful and very very good! Unfortunately also on my things I want but will never be able to afford list, but this looks like worth saving for!

Gourmet Butcter said...

Wow this looks lush! Each dish looks so lovingly prepared that I want to try them all..NOW!

The Grubworm said...

Okay, so maybe I can afford it if I don't drink. Maybe. Like you, it's somewhere I've wanted to go to for a while, but always balked on price. But those photos are going someway towards convincing me.

The attention to detail seems typically superb and every angle is covered, right down to crisping the seaweed exterior on those rolls.

Helen T said...

I loved the only time I ate at Roka, fabulous dinner with great company. And the best sushi and sashimi I've had outside of Tokyo. I wasn't paying so probably only trip till similar windfall comes my way too!

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Really want to try Roka - though will probably be Canary Wharf for me - it looks marvellous.

Krista said...

Did the duck and the chicken come from the robata? Methinks you did not have enough from the grill!!!

Was your service good? I've found Roka patchy...