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Roka Japanese Sushi Restaurant - London, England | Restaurant Review

Nice Sushi and Sashimi but Not Amazing


Restaurant Category : Japanese, Sushi

Roka Japanese Restaurant – London, England: It seems that with any chic and trendy restaurant in London, they like to make you wait for your table even if you have reservations. Roka was no different; we arrived at 9:25 for our 9:30 reservation only to be told our table was not ready and would not be ready for at least 30 minutes. We were told that seats were available in the lounge downstairs and we could wait there for the meantime. We went down to their lounge, Shochu Lounge (read our review of Shochu Lounge here), a new and happening cocktail bar full of young and hip people. It was crowded, loud and had minimal to no service, typical of the so called “trendy” places the too-young and excitable crowd frequent, and simply not to my liking.

After about 45 minutes of sipping too-sweet drinks, we were notified that our table was ready and were shown to our table. Luckily, the restaurant was not as noisy and the ambiance less pretentious than the lounge, but still very much contemporary chic. The décor was minimal with light beige wooden tables and chairs arranged close together providing an intimate setting. In the middle of the restaurant was a big open bar where they do the cooking, also serving as entertainment while waiting for the food to arrive. Lounge and dance music played in the background.

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The music, the closeness of the tables, and the fact that it was a full house that night made the restaurant seem a bit chaotic. Every chatter and laughter resounded throughout the interiors that it was hard to carry on a long conversation, but it was still a lot better than the lounge downstairs.

We ordered a whole bunch of food: Saki to Avocado Maki (raw salmon, avocado, asparagus wasabi, topiko and tenkatsu), Age Watari Gani (Soft shell crab maki roll, which consist of soft shell crab, cucumber, kim chi and chilli mayonnaise), Unagi Nigiri, Tuna Tempura Roll, Prawn Maki, 3 kinds Sashimi, and Edamame. Our favorite was the Age Watari Gani, so delicious that one order wasn’t enough, and the Prawn Maki, which was a heavenly bite. For dessert we had Raspberry and Ivoire chocolate usugiri, rose vanilla custard, but weren’t so delighted with its flavor and consistency.

We found the menu to be quite limited, especially for a place of this standing. Normally, a chic and trendy sushi place like this would have a wider assortment of rolls. While we enjoyed the food and found it satisfying, we couldn’t say it was outstanding. We have had far better and at more reasonable prices. The service was attentive, about par for a restaurant that seems more dedicated to atmosphere and image than great authentic food.

If you are looking for a fun, trendy and casual restaurant with average sushi and service, then check out Roka. If you want honest to goodness, excellent sushi and a great atmosphere, then I recommend Nobu (Read our review of Nobu here.) or Cocoon (Read our review of Cocoon here.). Rating, Between Bombastic and Not.

What I liked: Age Watari Gani and Prawn Maki

What I didn’t like: Noise, the fact that we had to wait too long even with reservations

Rating: Between Bombastic and Not

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