Last weekend, Ciaran and I had a little staycation in Canary Wharf, which was really great because although it is technically in London, it’s far enough away from Central London to make it feel like a getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. As part of our mini staycation, we indulged in dinner at ROKA, the award-winning Japanese restaurant that has stolen hearts all over London. Located in Canada Square, ROKA Canary Wharf has a sophisticated yet trendy vibe and I really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. We sipped on few cocktails in the gorgeous lounge before heading into the main dining room for dinner.
The cocktails at ROKA are fabulous, featuring a mix of highballs, a range of drinks that are popular in Japanese culture served over carved ice with a variety of sodas, classic cocktails and pressed alcoholic pressed juices. For my aperitif, I ordered the Twinkle, made with vodka, elderflower cordial, lemon twist and champagne. Zesty and refreshing, it was the ideal tipple to kick off our date with.
We made our way into the lively dining room that features a spacious open-plan kitchen complete with bar stools, perfect to post up and watch the action of what’s happening behind the scenes. We took a seat and were greeted by our lovely server, who talked us over ROKA’s outstanding menu, filled with salads, tataki and tempura, sushi and sashimi, dishes from the robata grill, snacks and side dishes and finally a selection of decadent desserts. Stomachs grumbling, we had a look over the menu, ordered a starter to nibble on and a bottle of white wine to share (a combination of Viognier and Chenin Blanc, recommended by the house sommelier. I can’t remember the name, sorry!)
Crispy, spicy rock shrimp tempura appeared before our eyes. These addicting morsels of crunchy goodness whet our appetite for what was to come…
ROKA is all about sharing plates that come out as they are prepared, which was totally fine by us! I would recommend getting about 3-4 dishes each to share depending on how hungry you are.
The Black Cod at ROKA is legendary, so we ordered Black Cod gyoza, which were divine. Packed with sweet Black Cod and topped with chilli ponzu and edamame beans. A real treat, although the taste of the black cod was slightly subdued due to the heaviness of the gyoza shell.
The mouth-wateringly delicious beef tataki with daikon and fresh truffle was outstanding. Thinly seared pieces of beef topped with fragrant truffle and truffle dressing amalgamated perfectly and melted in our mouths. The beef could have been sliced a tad thinner, but other than that I have nothing but positive words to say about this beautiful dish.
Grilled asparagus with sesame seeds from the Robata Grill.
Sweet potato baked in bamboo husk – my favourite side of the evening. Sweet, buttery and comforting. It is served looking really pretty and then the server comes and mashes it up to distribute the butter throughout. I really want to learn how to make this for Thanksgiving – it’s the ideal holiday dish.
Spiced Chicken Wings with sea salt, honey, and lime. They had the right balance of sweet, salty and tangy from the lime. So good in fact, I accidentally put a whole one in my mouth and didn’t realise they had bones… whoops! Take caution.
The highlight of the evening though, and perhaps the highlight dish of my year, was this spectacular Black Cod marinated in Yuzu Miso. This is the dish of dreams. The fish is incredibly tender and falls apart the moment you dip your fork in. It’s sweet, almost dessert-like, buttery and melts in your mouth. It’s served in a gorgeous banana leaf, making the presentation stunning as well. It was honestly amazing – word cannot do it justice. If you go to ROKA, do not leave without trying the Black Cod!
We were super surprised when our server presented us with this beautiful and extravagant selection of seasonal and exotic fruit, gelato and chocolate brownies. It was too pretty to even dive into. It looks like a gorgeous work of art! Filled with dragon fruit, figs, pineapple, passion fruit, lychee, raspberries and more – it was the best way to end our incredible dinner at ROKA.
I now understand the hype around ROKA – it is now one of my favourite restaurants in London. We were blown away by each dish and the service was impeccable. It is the perfect restaurant for special occasions and celebrations (my fiancé took his mom there when he told her he was going to propose to me!)
Have you been to ROKA? What’s been your favourite dish?
ROKA | 4 Park Pavilion | 40 Canada Square | Canary Wharf | London | E14 5FW | Book Now
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