Roka Canary Wharf has re-opened their terrace in time for summer and we were lucky enough to be invited back to christen the re-opening. As die hard fans of ROKA’s unique style of contemporary Japanese cuisine we never need an excuse to visit – we’re beyond excited to experience yet another culinary adventure.
The terrace fits in nicely to its unique urban back drop, and the skyscrapers really do give it a certain energy of its own, adding another dimension to the dining experience. We relax into the experience and sip champagne safe in the knowledge that we are about to enter into an intensely enjoyable food journey. We’ve already told our friendly and insightful General Manager Stephan that we are open to whatever surprises they have in store for us and that we love food.
Paulo our super cheerful and amazing waiter greets us and places our first starter of the day; yellowtail with jalapeno dressing which is delicate, fresh and citrusy, contrasted with a slight spicy kick from the jalepenos. Next to arrive is hamachi no tartar yellowtail, lemon, chilli and ginger tartar with sesame rice cracker and sake no tartar salmon tartar with wasabi tobiko and seaweed cracker – again the tartar is fresh, light and divine. A platter of tasty maki’s follow that include California maki, chirashi maki no tempura and hamachi maki. Then the wagyu no aburi nigiri, wagarashi to ninniku wagyu nigiri with karashi mustard and fried garlic, the succulent juicy beef is simply exquisite. Paulo’s passion for the food is apparent from the moment he starts serving us and we are delighted to see him every-time he brings over another dish of ROKA goodness – this time it’s ROKA signature rock shrimp tempura which never disappoints.
There are no words to describe how amazing the wagyu gunkan is, which is wagyu sushi with oscietra caviar spring onion and fresh ginger – these are literally bite size pieces of heaven.
Upon recommendation from the sommelier we try sake rakabegura Kimto Junmai which is a rich style of sake created by the Kimto method – this was to complement the meat robata dishes of ROKA including the likes of baby chicken, lemon miso and garlic soy, or the gyoza’s such as black cod, crab and crayfish dumplings. He’s not wrong, its light flavours are great with gindara to kani no gyoza (black cod, crab and crayfish dumplings) which are a lovely combination of seafood mix in a silky soft dumpling.
Next to arrive are Ko nasu eggplant in mirin, ginger and soy and shiitake no wafu kushi-yaki, shiitake mushroom skewers with wafu and crisp shallots both unbelievably good, a perfect balance of texture and flavour – who would have thought veggies could taste this fine…!
Time for the main event – the most amazing lamb cutlets we have ever had (kankoku fu kohitsuji – lamb cutlets with Korean spices). Granted, we’ve always had a love/hate relationship with lamb but if they taste like this all the time there’s absolutely no reason why we’d ever hate lamb again! Also to arrive was a delicious tai miso-yaki sea bream fillet, ryotei miso and red onion dish – perfect, just perfect.
How are we ever going to make room for dessert? Banana to tonka mame no soboro ice cream, take zutsu (banana ice cream with salted cocoa crumble, apple bamboo) and an almond cake with raspberry yogurt and ripple ice-cream with a crispy lotus persuaded us to find some room and we are glad we did the almond cake in particular was sensational.
Oh my goodness what a food feast extravaganza! Rainer Becker you are truly a legend, our experience of ROKA across the board has always been second to none – we always leave content and happy – if you ever need tasters for new dishes – we’re here for you!!
Seasonal taster menus from £55p/p without drinks