Thursday, June 7, 2012

Roka | Charlotte Street

One of my favorite restaurants in London must be Roka. After having had dinner there three times I think it's safe to highly recommend you this restaurant. From the award winning restaurant Zuma, Roka serves contemporary Japanese Robatayaki food, which is absolutely delicious. Here's my experience with Roka Charlotte Street.

First of all, I love the interior, and in particular, the long hard-wooden tables which look out on the kitchen/robata area. The whole place has a rustic but contemporary feeling. The glass windows allow you to look out on the street.

My favorite drink there is the raspberry mule, which is a huge non-alcoholic cocktail with ginger beer, ice and fresh raspberries. Really refreshing and sweet.

California maki
Now, the food. The most important aspect of a restaurant. A good amount to order is 6 or 7 dishes for 2 people, to share. I'll list my favorite dishes below:

- California maki (5 pieces). The best I've ever tasted. I promise you it's nothing compared to any California maki you've previously eaten. Great rice, fresh crab, soft avocado and those popping little green fish eggs on top. It's simply divine, I could eat this every day.

- Gyu no tataki to truffle. Seared beef striploin, black truffle dressing, cucumber dikon pickle and miso tapioca crisps. Doesn't it sound delicious already? Only for the beef lovers though.

- Last but certainly not least: Gin tare no saikyo taki. Black cod marinated in yuzu miso and homemade hajikami. This black cod is a little piece of heaven wrapped in a dried magnolia leaf. Great presentation and an amazing taste. It's a bit pricey, but worth the 'investment', I promise. I must say the black cod with miso at Nobu is better (at twice the price), but this is still quite amazing.

Black cod with miso
So I definitely recommend the dishes above. I also like the robata baby back ribs, chicken skewers with spring onions and crisp soft shell crab. I would skip the tempura, it's too greasy, but apart from that I haven't had anything I didn't like.

One little note for Roka: put the green tea pancakes back on the menu. I was very disappointed when I saw it wasn't on the menu anymore. It was one of the best desserts I've ever eaten in a restaurant.

You can go to Roka and spend as much as you like. I won't say it's cheap, because it's not, but you pay for exceptional quality and service. But it's the perfect night out for any kind of celebration, anniversary, graduation or just when you want to pamper yourself. For about 30 pounds per person, you'll have the perfect amount of food (without wine) and receive great service.

Book at least a week in advance (book here) as tables between 6.30 and 9 pm are always fully booked. If you're only 2 people without booking, you'll be seated at the long tables overlooking the kitchen. If it's really busy, you might have to wait downstairs in the lounge.

Sorry for the long review but I wanted to tell you everything I know and my honest opinion. I couldn't recommend this place enough; an evening out at Roka will exceed your expectations.
© whiskers & lions

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