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Roka, Canary Wharf

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by Tammy Facey (subscribe)
Read. Write. Run.
Published March 30th 2016
Oriental beauty
My love of Japanese cuisine knows no end and anyone who's anyone knows about Roka: the high-end Japanese restaurants popular with those who lunch often, seeking lush Asian-style yellowtail, bankers in need of carpaccio salmon and daters nervously fumbling with chopsticks, Roka is a venue for a little fine dining.

Roka
Fancy affair


Beautifully presented plates form part of the experience at Roka, and with food so fresh it seems as thought they've a part of the sea in the back. They have nailed it in terms of glorious food that tastes just as good as it looks.

There are five Roka restaurants in London, including Mayfair and Charlotte Street, I dined at the one in Canary Wharf, which is minutes from Canada Square, on the DLR.

Roka, Japanese, dinner, cuisine, fine dining
Sleek interior


Firstly, it's a little pretentious and grand, but it needn't be because the tables are tightly packed in as they cover their overheads which bothers me. I like space when I'm eating, especially somewhere fancy.

Now the food is good, but I've had better; the sashimi didn't seem particularly fresh, and I wasn't blown away by it.

That said it ticked the box for presentation. A pile of ice, with mini icebergs keeping the fish fresh and tasting like it had just emerged from the ocean.

Roka, Canary Wharf, Japanese
Cool baby


Whilst I enjoyed the sashimi, Roka blew me away with the piece de resistance black cod, served oh so beautifully on a banana leaf with black sesame seeds and a delicious extra sauce.

The black cod melts like butter in your mouth as you get a wave of sake-soaked fish and miso gently enveloping your tongue. This dish really blows everything else out the water.

Roka, Japanese, dinner, cuisine, fine dining
Butter wouldn't melt


The pretension reared its head again with the side dishes: the griddle asparagus is served on two toothpicks, I detest such unnecessary faff and abhor the idea of a splinter in my food.

The sweet potato was good, but it was difficult to get enough of it on the rather strange wooden spoon which accompanied the dish, nonetheless it was nice.

All in all Roka is good. It is, but I've just had better.
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Why? Canary Wharf's best Japanese offering
When: Hours: Monday to Saturday 11:30am–4pm, 5:30–11pm, Sunday 11:30am–8:30pm
Phone: 020 7636 5228
Where: 4, Park Pavilion, 40 Canada Square, London E14 5FW
Cost: £45-70 per person
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