Roka (Aldwych): where you remember favourites

Roka will always have a special spot in my heart. The flagship on Charlotte Street used to be a favourite for meetings, post-work dinner with friends, and impromptu tête-à-têtes with an old friend-on-tap. Since moving offices and losing said friend to the Americas a few years ago, I can count the number of times I’ve gone back.
When they opened a branch in Aldwych last year, my heart fluttered in nostalgia and my belly cartwheeled in gluttonous glee. It’s like reuniting with an old friend’s who brings all sorts of much needed familiarity when the going gets tough. And just like a really good old friend, Roka Aldwych definitely picked up where we left off. Gastronomically.  

Standard sashimi ala carte come in three pieces per order: maguro (£9), hamachi (£8.30), sake (£5.90) and unagi (£6.90).

Other than sashimi, Roka’s gindara no saikyo-yaki (black cod marinated in miso, £32) is one of my “you-can’t-go-without-ordering-this” dishes. They cook it on the robata consistently well. The fish is always fresh, flaking softly off your forks and slithering nicely the way gindara should. You pay premium for it, but it’s absolutely delicious.

The beef fillet yakiniku (£23.30) topped with chilli and spring onion, comes thinly sliced and though I’m not a fan of sliced steak, I actually don’t mind in this case because the meat is always cooked the way you like it (none of that “tell them rare so it comes medium rare” BS). I’ve never had to return this dish. Ever.

The photo isn’t doing this beef any justice but IRL it’s the pinkest of pinks. Quite frankly, I would devour this entire cutlet on its own but the toppings and sauce actually makes a welcome change of flavour profile.

I like my veggies simple, so the yaki asparagus skewers (£4.90) from the robata grill are a must. Cooked to a decent crunch with a semi-sweet soy glaze, there’s something about these that sort of cleanses the palate in between umami flavours and celebrates the neatness of Japanese eating. 

The konasu (£4.90) is also delicious. The simplicity of baby aubergine marinated in mirin, soy and ginger is an irony towards the depth of flavour this dish has.

On my most recent visit, the beef, ginger and sesame gyoza (£7.30) weren’t as juicy as I remember, but it’s still a top dish. The beef flavour is still very much apparent and the zingy ginger gives it a bit of a kick.

My choice of dessert is the chocolate to matcha pudding (£9.60), an epic twist on the classic chocolate fondant, combining two flavours I love. The dark chocolate cake itself tastes rich but has a certain lightness to it and the matcha ganache surprisingly offsets the entire dessert. They serve it with pear ice cream although I’ve often asked to change flavour (they have a whisky one that is ridic good) and if you’re celebrating a special occasion, some seasonal exotic fruit!
Speaking of favourites, this dude is my favourite chef from the robata grill. I mean… that hairdo!

Overall, Roka is still one of my most reliable spots in the city. Charlotte Street will always be close to my heart but the Aldwych branch comes very handy with much larger space and absolutely friendly (if not overly attentive) staff. It’s perfect for group dinners and post-theatre munchies, or even just a comforting dinner when you need it the most. 

Roka Aldwych
71 Aldwych, London WC2B
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    • 7th August 2015 / 11:04 am

      You and I both, C. I could really do with some decent sashimi!

  1. 7th August 2015 / 1:23 pm

    Haven't made it to Aldwych one yet, but I do love Charlotte St, and can never not order the beef and asparagus.
    Rosie xx

    • 7th August 2015 / 3:22 pm

      Excellent staples, Rosie =) The Charlotte St branch has a different vibe from Aldwych which I think caters more to suits but the latter has really attentive staff =)

  2. 7th August 2015 / 2:33 pm

    I'm intrigued by the chocolate to matcha dessert, I do like the Charlotte Street restaurant too and must try this branch out

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    • 10th August 2015 / 8:28 am

      We can perhaps make Canary Wharf a date, Angie! x

  3. 9th August 2015 / 4:25 pm

    Roka is my FAAAAAAVE restaurant in the whole wide world – glad you have rekindled your fire ;)! Couldn't agree more re the black cod and green tea chocolate cake – SO GOOD! Lots of love, Andrea xxx

    Andrea's Passions

    • 10th August 2015 / 8:27 am

      I saw that you've been celebrating your birthday at Charlotte St for the past three years! x

  4. 14th August 2015 / 4:05 pm

    I remember you talking about this when we went out for Grandpa's birthday and everything looks freaking delicious! Green tea chocolate cake + pear ice cream = pure, unadulterated lust! x

    • 14th August 2015 / 9:41 pm

      Oh, but you must try it with the whisky ice cream…. *wink* x

  5. 1st November 2015 / 11:32 pm

    Aah I really must try Roka Aldwych, I inevitably always end up at their Mayfair outpost and need to shake things up a bit! And totally agree, the fondant here really is spectacular xx

    • 2nd November 2015 / 11:58 am

      I agree, Ayushi – the Mayfair branch is pretty cool too and I used to love the Charlotte St. branch when our office was closer. You must visit the Aldwych branch! Especially during Sunday for the super good all-day menu! 🙂

    • 2nd November 2015 / 7:46 pm

      Sounds ideal! It's definitely going on the November list 🙂

  6. 31st March 2016 / 5:27 am

    Hello everyone! There is a free date (photo, cd,office )recovery software for you . You can find your lost memory,just in case !

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