A lunch to try out the new Roka on Aldwych. The original Roka restaurant, based on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia, has been a success since it opened, about ten years ago. Since then, the company has opened a branch in Canary Wharf, a branch in Mayfair, and most recently, a branch in Covent Garden.
The restaurant itself is quite nice, with high ceilings (different to the original) and lots of grey stone, which gives it a modern but sterile feeling.
We decided to try a number of different dishes, so we shared… first off, the soft-shelled crab roll. It was a good one, with big chunks of crab in the roll. It was served still warm, which was nice.
Then, we had some scallop sashimi and the yellow-tail tartare, which was served with rice crunchies. Both were ok and certainly, but neither had much flavour… a bit disappointing.
We had come to lunch with a 25% off voucher that also came with a free cocktail – I got a mezcal-based cocktail that was really good and smoky…
Then, the beef, sesame and ginger dumplings. These were quite plump and crammed with beef, making them pretty good… nice with some pickled cucumber and chili.
And then, the aubergine. Such a simple dish, these aubergine skewers were slowly grilled for what tasted like hours.. they were so tender. Topped with a slightly spicy powder, they were also perfectly seasoned. This may have been the best dish of the bunch.
And finally, to end, the beef and shishito pepper skewers. These were also delicious. The beef had been marinated in a sauce and was very tender slices (not cubes) of meat. So. Good. The aubergine was better, but this was a top second.