Roka Aldwych is the newest restaurant from Rainier Becker and the 4th Roka in London (others located at Charlotte Street, Mayfair and Canary Wharf). The group of restaurants have set the standard for excellent Japanese cuisine in London, so I was looking forward to trying Roka Aldwych out when bestie and I got together recently.
The Aldwych restaurant is certainly a looker. A Japanese bathtub with running water greets you as you walk in, a really welcoming bar area with large windows in the front of the restaurant and a huge robata grill in the middle. I liked being able to see and hear the chefs at work.
It’s a sharing concept and with that in mind, we ordered a few dishes to start with the intention of ordering more as we went. In round one we went with our waiters recommendation of Kampachi salad – yellowtail sashimi with mizuno and truffle yuzu dressing (£14.60). This was my favourite dish and it was incredible how thinly the sashimi was sliced. Truffle can overpower a dish, but it was perfectly balanced in this case and the yuzu dressing added a lovely zingy citrus note that really complimented the dish.
We also ordered the salmon maki (£7.30), which were nice big rolls with fat pieces of salmon and an interesting addition of asparagus. Along with these two dishes, we ordered the Roka style soft shell crab (£9.00). I really enjoyed the chilli dressing, mopping it up with the meaty pieces of crab and as bestie wasn’t feeling that great and didn’t want too much spice, I bagged most of the dish. Lucky me!
It was a great start, but I needed more food. In round two we chose beef gyoza (£7.30). I enjoyed this dish the least out of all the ones we ordered. The dumpling was a little thick and chewy for my liking and the filling was minced beef, which I wasn’t expecting. Whilst it wasn’t bad, I’ve had better gyoza elsewhere.
We also ordered scallops (£13.90). Our waiter warned us that it was only two scallops but the two that arrived were absolutely ginormous! I greedily stuffed a whole one into my mouth and that proved to be a challenge! (Don’t try that at home, kids). They were well seasoned and expertly cooked with the scallop still the star of the dish.
Our last dish was the chicken wings (£4.90). They were skewered so perfectly that I actually forgot they were wings. Nice crispy skin and tender flesh, it was a great end to a really enjoyable meal.
Service for both of us was a little over-attentive. Our waiter was very sweet, but timing wasn’t his forté and we felt interrupted at times. Saying that though, when it got busier he was a little harder to track down and ordering drinks wasn’t all that easy. Our bill including 3 cocktails and service came to £114.05. I think we got off lightly thanks to bestie not having the biggest appetite on the night, the bill could’ve definitely added up under normal circumstances. It would be worth it though, the food was excellent and there was a really good buzz in the restaurant.
As Arnie said “I’ll be back!”.
Untill we eat again!