Tuesday, 8 September 2015

ROKA Aldwych review

Last month we went to London for a long weekend in celebration of my birthday. This has turned into something of a tradition now and we always try to book dinner in a special restaurant while we're there.

When I explored Taste of London earlier in the year I was seriously impressed by the offerings from ROKA and knew that Sion would love the Japanese menu just as much as me.

ROKA headed by Rainer Beker currently has restaurants in four London locations, starting first with Charlotte Street, opened in 2004, Canary Wharf in 2009 and Mayfair & Aldwych both opened in 2014. As well as serving a full range of sushi & sashimi sharing dishes at the heart of each restaurant is the robata grill in full view of the diners.

ROKA Aldwych Japanese restaurant interior

We booked into ROKA Aldwych for a 7pm booking and on arrival were immediately taken to our table. The dining room had a mix of small tables, larger group tables and seating around the much famed robata grill. One whole wall had lit jars set into it and as the evening progressed these were gradually dimmed. 

Our waitress for the evening spent time going through all the menu options, not only explaining the various groupings of foods but also her own personal favourites. There was no hurried explanations and she spent all of he time crouched down at our eye level - a small touch, but one that was so much more friendly and approachable than having someone tower over you.

We of course started by ordering a bottle of wine from the well thought out listings and settled on a fresh white wine around the £35 range. Our waitress poured our first glass and then expertly topped our glasses with just the right amount to make the bottle last for the whole of our meal. We also had table water.

Living in Southampton we have limited sushi options and with such variety on offer the sharing dishes made up the basis of our meal. We had seven dishes - black cod, crab & crayfish dumplings, seared scallops, wagyu beef tartar on a nori cracker, soft shelled crab, vegetable tempura, sea bream sashimi & tuna california rolls. Each one had a different taste, texture and accompaniment, keeping the meal fresh and lively. We ordered two to three dishes at a time and they were quickly prepared and presented to us.

ROKA gyoza japanese dumplings

ROKA seared scallops japanese style

ROKA wagyu beef tartare japanese food

soft shelled crab ROKA japanese food

sea bream sashimi ROKA Aldwych London dining

I was lucky enough to win a voucher for a sharing dessert platter following Taste of London and what a platter it was! A perfect mix of sorbet, fresh exotic fruit, and two warm puddings meant there was more than enough for us both.

Japanese dessert platter ROKA Aldwych London
We kept the "proper" camera at the hotel...blurriness comes from using a camera phone and celebratory drinking!! 

Had we not had the voucher I think we would have been happy with just sorbet. Our sharing dishes had satisfied both our taste buds and our stomachs, without leaving either of us overfed - a careful balancing act! 

Our total bill (excluding the sharing dessert platter) came to £130. All ROKA locations offer a lunch & pre-theatre menu at £27 for two courses or £31 for three courses, there is also a 10 course tasting menu at £58 per person.

We left after two hours of the most beautiful food and attentive staff to wander along Southbank on a beautiful summers night - one of the most enjoyable meals either of us have ever had.

I was not asked to write this review, all food and drink (excluding my prize voucher) was paid for by us. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Linking up with;
We're going on an adventure
Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Square Meal


  1. What a treat! The food looks amazing! It looks a great place to eat x

  2. Now that looks wonderful, what a great place to visit with some delicious looking dishes #TriedTested

  3. That looks gorgeous, I must go to a Japanese restaurant soon

  4. That food looks amazing! Thanks for linking up with #TriedTested

  5. What a lovely birthday treat, the food looks delicious! I love the idea of a sharing platter, thanks for sharing. Popping over from #TastyTuesdays