REVIEW

ROKA Aldwych Review

After dining at ROKA in Canary Wharf for my mum’s 60th birthday, I couldn’t wait to go again. This time I visited the Aldwych branch. I was excited to try out their 3 course set menu for £31pp. Both my friend and I arrived hungry for a belated celebration, which I may have mentioned in the comments section.

Once we were seated, we were given a menu with two different sets:


Hayameshi teishoku – £31per person
or
Tokujo hayameshi teishoku for £41 per person

Both options are served with a glass of bubbles or complimentary green tea.


We opted for the first set menu. Soon after, they brought out two glasses of Prosecco. Our waitress and waiter assumed we’d prefer alcohol without asking us. We asked them to change it to the green tea, which took 15 minutes to bring out.

Starters

Soon, our starters and other dishes came flowing out of the kitchen before our tea had even arrived! The green beans with sesame dressing, which arrived on one plate, was delicious! Despite it being served ice cold, I could have eaten it all to myself. 

As I can’t eat beef, they let me swap the three dumplings for two black cod, crab and crayfish dumplings. It was presented elegantly with four edamame beans and a sweet but sharp vinegary sauce. The sauce helped to take away the strong fishy taste from the dumplings.

Sashimi

Next was the sashimi, which included salmon, tuna and seabass. Each piece was cut into a thick slice. It was so soft, it melted in your mouth. One of the nicest sashimi I’ve had.

The spicy sashimi tempura with green beans and spring onion was by far the best dish on the menu! It had a great combination of textures. The soft rice with the crunchy, deep fried tempura coating and the aldente green beans was delicious!

In-between courses, the staff refilled our cups with green tea. Unfortunately, it wasn’t clear that refills were inclusive. It was quite difficult to get the staff’s attention. Fortunately the tables around us had green tea also, so the waiter topped up our cups as he passed. 

Mains

For our mains we could choose from baby chicken, sea bream fillet or beef sirloin, which all came with rice. I chose the baby chicken with lemon, miso and garlic soy, which was packed full of flavours with every bite! It had a mild hint of chilli giving it a subtle warmth that accompanied the soy and lemon so well.

The rice that came with it was decorated with black sesame seeds, toasted sesame seeds, seaweed and purple dust. It looked very pretty and added extra textures to the soft, steamed rice.

My friend chose the beef sirloin, chilli and spring onion. He requested it to be cooked medium rare and they did a good job. The dark sauce that came with it was sweet, sticky and great for dipping the thinly sliced beef in to.

Dessert

Brimming with food, I couldn’t leave without having the dessert. I’ve been craving their dark chocolate and green tea pudding with crunchy jivara, pear ice cream for 4 years. I decided to swap the ice cream for strawberry sorbet. My friend went for the sobacha crème brûlée with hazelnuts, yamazaki whisky ice cream. 

The green tea fondant was amazing. The melty but crunchy chocolate layer on top with the oozy green tea inside the chocolate pudding. If you love chocolate and matcha – make sure you try it! The ice block helped the sorbet stay in their ball shapes, whilst I took my time enjoying the pudding. I loved the presentation and the fresh tropical fruits as decoration. 

Overall

I still love the food at ROKA. However, the friendliness of each member of staff varied as well as the service, which fluctuated at times. They stopped offering us drinks as we came towards the end of our meal. I think a pot of tea on the table would have been better than asking the waiter each time. Other than that, the food is a must.

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