Roka is located in Charlotte Street in Soho. A great street. Lots of restaurants. Plenty of places to wander in to and eat or have a drink. We had reservations at Roka which reminds me of Katsuya in Los Angeles.
In the middle of the restaurant is a Robata Grill where a variety of plates are made. The place is very frenetic. Once you order the food just starts coming. As always, with places like this, the plates are inconsistent.
The idea is to share everything. We each ordered 3 different things that we wanted to try and we split it. For all intensive purposes, it seemed to have worked once we got there. The first thing out was a small round cup of sea bass and yellow tail tartare. Each very good. Definitely not a sharing kind of thing but we managed.
Next out was the butterfish tataki over ponzu sauce. This was excellent. Butterfish is something I have seen overseas many times but rarely in the US. Delicious fish.
The classic copy of Nobu's rock shrimp tempura. Good but not great.
The special of the night was a charred sliced beef with black truffle shavings. Didn't taste the truffle but it was there. Nice dish but the flavors were very mild.
Eel tempura maki was dry. This came out so fast that my guess is that it was pre-made during the day. They then pop the eel over the top and brush the sauce over it. Could be delicious if it was made fresh.
Soft shell crab tempura. Well done, light and crispy.
Black cod, crab, crayfish dumplings with roasted chili and ponzu sauce. These were excellent. Light, fresh and really different.
Beef ginger dumplings were also really good. They do a great job on the dumplings.
Marinated miso black cod has become a standard for all Japanese restaurants. This was very good. The fish fell away, full of flavor and very buttery.
Spicy chicken wings. Good but not great.
Ribs definitely came off the bone but not much flavor here.
Roasted eggplant with a glaze. Ok.
Chicken tataki on skewers. Good, well done, nothing different.
Everyone wanted some sushi in the end so we all ordered a few pieces. Either two pieces or three per order. It was okay nothing great. The rice was tasteless, the fish was fresh but not that flavorful.
My total take on the restaurant is that they'd love everyone to go for the chef's tasting which is outrageously expensive. The food is okay nothing great. It is a scene. It is new different concept to London but not to me. If I went back, I'd stick to the dumplings and the raw fish specials. They are a factory, like Nobu, but Nobu does it better.
After we walked down the street and found Yog-Yog yogurt. We were definitely completing the LA experience here. Katsuya for dinner and frozen yogurt for dessert.