Zuma’s younger sibling in Fitzrovia gets top marks for glitz and glamour, for the theatre of watching chefs at the robata grill, and for impeccable cooking.
Zuma’s younger sibling gets top marks for glitz and glamour. Much of the action takes place on full show at the central robata grill, where a repertoire (similar to Zuma’s) of contemporary izakaya-inspired food is created. The knotted wooden counter, framed by glass cases displaying the day’s produce, is filled with expectant punters enjoying the show.
The tasting menu is popular with first-time diners, taking them on a spin of the best that Roka has to offer. Ours started with a spicy spiral of own-made kimchi. Next came a sashimi platter elegantly presented over crushed ice, and including flavoursome minced tuna with spring onions to be scooped on to crisp, black bread. Sticky skewers of tebasaki (chicken wings) were succulent, while charred salmon served with pickled onion and a tare sauce was crisp-skinned and soft-centred. Another highlight was a showy trio of desserts, which featured Pocky-style chocolate and sesame biscuit sticks.
The tasting menu isn’t cheap, but each dish was impeccable. At such prices, though, service has to be spot on, and ours faltered towards the end. It took an age to get the bill, and we were made to wait further by the chilly door as attempts to retrieve our coats and bags were ignored.