Roka, London

I had something fashion related ready but it’s taking me a bit longer than expected to finish (I’m almost done), so instead I am posting more restaurant related posts. It’s sad but I’m not really in the kitchen much anymore, but I’ll try to get back into it once I have more time…

Roka is like the Yakitori equivalent of NYC, you know, meat on sticks Japanese grill style…sashimi appetizers and what not…but this placed is more ‘tricked out’ if you know what I mean (caviar and truffles are ingredients that are included in the menu, something you won’t see at Yakitori or Kenka on St. Marks street). Every time I come here there is a line out the door and the hostess is always saying the same line.. “Sorry there is a 1-2 hour wait, but you can go downstairs to the bar and have a drink“..I don’t know whether this is a ploy to get you to spend more money, or if there really is that long of a wait…I know this place is very popular but I really did not enjoy waiting 1.5 hours on a night that I actually made a reservation. If you come here, don’t fall for the “go downstairs to the bar for a drink line”, just patiently wait where the hostess can see your glaring eyes! The food is delicious and the sashimi is surprisingly fresh for a meat-on-sticks kind of place. I hate the club/bar downstairs though.


Edamame here is served at every table (complimentary) and they always ask if you want plain or spicy. Of course I order the spicy. The edamame is marinated in sesame oil, hot peppers, soy sauce, and vinegar. Requisite Asahi beer hanging in the background.




Next up, grilled tofu. From plain sight this dish looks very tasteless…but it is just perfect. The tofu is grilled for a long time so the outer skin develops into a crusty is also marinated with shichimi pepper, soy sauce, lime and topped with thinly diced scallions.



The sashimi is very good here, they know how to properly cut fish. This platter features a very standard mix- tuna, yellowtail, raw shrimp with caviar, toro tartare with quail egg yolk, and salmon. The selection is not exotic or varied but since this place doesn’t really specialize in sushi it’s okay.




Toro Tartare with quail egg yolk and caviar



This may LOOK like toro tartare on top of rice but it’s actually kobe beef tartare sushi. I liked this creative twist on sushi, not even sushi really because it’s raw meat but the presentation is influenced by sushi. God this was so good. I love beef tartare in general.


The raw meat is not flavorless, it is marinated with salt, soy sauce and some kind of oil.


Not your typical slab of ribs, these are flavored strongly with lime and hot peppers.. Actually the head chef seems to like lime a lot. Fine by me.




Fried softshell crab. This tasted very normal. Not impressed but that’s okay because everything else was great.


Garnished with red pepper thread.


My favorite dish here is their hot pot…the soup base for this specific hot pot is drawn from Katsuobushi or dried and fermented tuna shavings…these shavings are thrown into boiling water and that becomes the stock. This hot pot also has a lot of Japanese fern and vegetables which adds an earthy flavor..then rice is added into the soup base and boiled for a long time until it becomes thick like porridge… you can think of this as asian risotto…They also bring a fresh truffle for you and shave lots of it on top of the rice.




This is a good thing to order if there are more than two people sharing, the hot pot serves 2-4 people.


Lychee and Raspberry cake




37 Charlotte St, London
020 7580 6464