So, if you didn’t already know, I love Roka. As in, loooooove Roka.
Honestly, I think I should get paid for the amount of positive advertising I do for them!
However, I haven’t yet reviewed Roka, Aldwych, OR the premium tasting menu, so you’re still in for a treat (and lots of new dishes).
After more work drinks than you could (EVER) possibly imagine, with the last few occurring in Demon Wise, which I must say does some rather quirky cocktails:
We rolled in to Roka shortly after 10pm, and claimed a table for 6.
I was pleased to sight the same familiar and beloved robata grill centerpiece as in Roka, Charlotte Street but, sadly, none of my favourite staff, and I found the space altogether a little more serious & sterile than its sister flagship restaurant.
Because clearly we were in need of more booze, more booze, of both the red & white variety, were ordered and merrily consumed.
The premium tasting menu costs £83pp, and kicked off with yellowtail sashimi with yuzu-truffle dressing.
My, my, this was good. As in, absolutely mind-blowing.
The yuzu and truffle added both a citrus freshness and earthiness to the butter-soft slithers of fish.
Then arrived a boat containing all sorts of seafood delights.
Lobster with homemade ponzu sauce; yellowtail sashimi; salmon with crispy rice; Japanese egg roll unagi with kinome; and tuna gunkan with oscietra caviar, were all aboard.
I particularly enjoyed the salmon with crispy rice for its textural contrasts, and the tuna gunkan with oscietra caviar for its freshness & smoothness.
At this point I popped to the toilet, only to return to find my inebriated friends obliviously tucking into my photo opp, so apologies for the upcoming half-eaten plates.
These were Roka’s classic black cod, crab and crayfish dumplings, which I’ve reviewed in my previous posts, and also got my teeth stuck into at Taste of London.
And, on my recommendation (I just can’t help myself when it comes to Roka), in addition to the premium tasting menu, we ordered two portions of rock shrimp tempura, wasabi pea seasoning and chilli mayonnaise (£14.30 each).
I just LOVE prawn tempura, OK? Roka’s are very good (the mayo is phenomenal) but, as I’ve said previously, Sushi Samba is still the Queen of this dish, in my opinion, with Buddakan and Goodman serious competitors.
Next up were the scallop skewers with wasabi and shiso, which I’d never had before, but will certainly be having again.
The seared beef with black truffle dressing was an equal triumph, with the beef wonderfully tender; (I want to say) cucumber adding great, fresh crunch; and the truffle dressing being just that.
Then it was time for my favourite dish in the world – black cod marinated in yuzu miso. I’ve run out of words for this dish. I’m afraid that you’ll have to read my previous reviews (search ‘Roka’ page) for the full list of adjectives that this dish summons from me.
The asparagus with sweet soy and sesame were perfectly cooked.
Although they had nothing on the extra eggplant in mirin, ginger and soy (£4.90 each) that we ordered as well.
The lamb cutlets with Korean spices were another newbie for me, and an utterly fabulous one at that. The meat was unbelievably tender and full of flavour.
However, the absolute unequivocal star of the show was the final dish; 290 day grain-fed Black Angus rib-eye with eryngii mushrooms and wasabi ponzu. The meat melted like butter, and was simply pure indulgent perfection, with the accompaniments absolutely spot on.
We all sat in a dream-like drunken stupor around the table mumbling our love for a piece of beef. (Really quite hilarious in hindsight.)
But, of course, the sweets were yet to come, and that they did, by way of the show-stopping ROKA dessert platter.
Ladened with all sorts of fresh exotic & dried fruits (the dates are divine), palette-cleansing sorbets, creamy ice-creams, and the EPIC dark chocolate & green tea pudding with crunchy jivara and pear ice cream, and superb sobacha crème brûlée with hazelnuts and yamazaki whisky ice-cream.
I had the ROKA dessert platter at my birthday meal too, and cannot recommend it as the perfect finish to a wonderful meal at Roka more highly. It’s SO good.
In terms of price, as I said, the premium tasting menu costs £83pp, on top of which you need to take into account alcohol and service. (Thankfully) I didn’t pay for this meal (even dessert wine was ordered… you get the picture) but, still, for the quantity & quality of the food that you get to sample, I think it’s very well-priced.
If you haven’t been to Roka yet, what are you waiting for?