Roka Aldwych

Restaurants, Japanese Holborn
5 out of 5 stars
(31user reviews)
london's best sushi restaurants, roka

A Japanese restaurant in theatreland.

By: Time Out London Food & Drink

Posted:

Venue name: Roka Aldwych
Contact:
Address: 71 Aldwych
London
WC2B 4HN
Transport: Tube: Temple
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Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:22
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|31
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1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

Went with a group for a Sunday brunch at the Aldwych branch, and had such a great afternoon! We went with a Timeout online offer at the time, but the normal price of £55 (for the boozy version) is defiantly worth it. Bellini on arrival, and then the staff were very attentive at filling us up with prosecco and wine through the meal…which lasted in the end for the full 3 hours. A huge variety of starters come out - Edamame, tempura, dumplings, salads, sushi and sashimi (served on ice), at a steady pace and they were all super tasty. Some Japenese staples and some I had never tried before. Then you select a main dish - I went for the sea-bream which was delicious, but I would go for the steak if I went again having sampled my friends. And end (if you have room) with a pudding platter, which includes a passionfruit filled chocolate Buddha. Sooo good. The staff were really lovely and accommodating, and the venue is beautiful inside with the open kitchen in the middle of the seating. One to do for brithdays or special occasions.

1 of 1 found helpful
Staff Comp

I was lucky enough to be taken here for my Birthday on Friday, and I was blown away by both service and food from start to finish. 


I recommend turning up 20 minutes before to sit at the bar for one of their cocktails. 


When it came to the menu, we were spoilt for choice, so the 10 course tasting menu (£58) was perfect for allowing us to appreciate a broad range of their signature dishes and classics. Highlights were the sea-bream fillet and the Sashimi Moriwase platter. We also ordered the soft shell crab (because it wasn't on the menu and it looked amazing!) this was beautifully crispy.



tastemaker

My friend and I spent 3 years studying on the Strand and would always walk by this restaurant/bar. We were already super keen to try it back then but never found the right time. Well, we finally did last Friday and were treated a modern take on Japanese food, which we were both pleased with! 


We started off with a round of drinks and I had a lovely cocktail that had 3 different types of alcohol in it. It came in a wine glass and I could see the separation between the alcohols; red on top and clear/orange on the bottom. It was lovely because it wasn't overly sweet, it wasn't too strong in alcoholic taste despite the number of alcohols in it, and it was very aesthetically pleasing! 


After browsing through their diverse menu, we opted to share the following dishes: 


1. Beef Gyoza - These came as cute bite-size dumplings filled with a mince beef mixture. It was flavourful on its own but went great with the ginger soy dipping sauce that came with it. It was definitely something different, as I'm used to chicken or pork gyoza but also an interesting dish! The filling almost tasted like a hamburger patty would!


2. Prawn Tempura - An entire plate of a classic Japanese dish. I really enjoyed this because I could tell how fresh the prawns were - they had a much nicer texture than most other tempura I've tasted. The batter was great, as it was thin and crispy and I liked that it came with the traditional tempura dipping sauce and another spicy sauce. 


3. 6 Nigiri - We opted for this, as it was the chef's choice of fish to put on the nigiri. However, we chose not to have octopus, as my friend is not a fan but we got a lovely spread nonetheless. It had the typical fish such as salmon, tuna, and sea bream. I really liked how the slice of sashimi was bigger than the rice (as it should be!) and that a smudge of wasabi was hidden between the sashimi and rice (to prevent the sashimi from falling off and also the traditional way of preparing nigiri!). The overall size of each nigiri was also perfect, as it fit nicely as a single bite without being an oversized mouthful. 


4. Chicken & Spring Onion Robata - I believe one of the specialities of the Aldwych branch is their robata selection and this was a great way to try it out. A classic combination of chicken and spring onion marinated in a sweet and savoury sauce. It was absolutely delicious! We could taste and see the grill marks and it smelled amazing! 


5. Tempura & Avocado Maki - Another classic combination of ingredients, this was done well as there were more ingredients than rice, which made it worth it. The creamy avocado paired nicely with the crispy prawn tempura and it was wrapped nice and tight in the rice and seaweed. 


6. Cheesecake - This was my choice of dessert, which I was honestly so happy with! It came as a slice of Japanese cotton cheesecake, which is super soft and fluffy, and nothing like an American cheesecake. It was topped with a scoop of cream cheese ice cream - very unique and tasty - along with some crumble and pieces of grilled apple on the side. The presentation was topped off with a thinly sliced dehydrated apple stuck into the ice cream, which was lovely to eat as well because of how crisp it was! When each ingredient was combined into a single mouthful, it was heaven! It looked very elegant and generous in size but doesn't fill you up too much, so you feel just nice after finishing it. 


After our meal, we decided to stick around for another drink since we enjoyed the first round. This time, I went for the Rose Martini. This too was beautifully presented through its simplicity. It had a rose petal in the martini glass and it was a lovely shade of pink. The taste of rose was perfect - enough to smell and taste but not overpowering, as rose syrup can be sometimes. My friend and I thoroughly enjoyed this meal! The only thing we weren't too pleased with was when the hostess came to place the bill on our table without us having asked her to. There were other empty tables in the restaurant, so we didn't think it was an issue of space and people waiting for a table. In my experience of working in the service and food & beverage industry, this is normally seen as a little rude. She did explain that it was "for our convenience" but it would have been nice for her to add that we could move to the bar section if we wanted to continue with drinks. 

tastemaker

Roka. Bottomless Brunch. TimeOut deal. Incredible. 


Seriously though, myself and two friends had an amazing time here – it's difficult to know where to start! We booked the £42 deal, which includes 10 small dishes to share, 1 main each, the famous Roka dessert platter, and of course, bottomless prosecco/wine and a welcome cocktail. The brunch menu is certainly the best way to experience some of Roka's finest at a fraction of the cost!


The food was fantastic – we started with the cold dishes, each with it's own distinctive and subtle flavours and accompanied by various pickles and sauces. These were followed by sushi and delicious hot gyoza and tempura. We picked a hot main dish each, but with the intention of sharing (only way to try try everything!) which were all really tasty and well portioned (priorities.) The meal was topped off by the dessert platter – the highlight of which was a chocolate ganache Buddha, with a coconut ice cream, biscuit crumb and a surprise at its centre! It was a struggle to pick our favourite dishes but the sushi platter and the baby chicken main were pretty standout.

The atmosphere was buzzing (possibly to do with the bottomless part of the brunch!) The service was so friendly and attentive and efficient and the prosecco was constantly topped up. We were comfortably full and 100% satisfied afterwards, though on a taste level, we wished it didn't have to end!


Overall, Roka is perfect for a special occasion, definitely lives upto it's reputation as one of the best Japanese restaurants in London, and I cannot wait to go back again to try more of their menu. 

tastemaker

The TimeOut deal is the only way to experience Roka. It’s incredibly good value for money, unlimited prosecco, white or red wine and definitely gets the gang together. Bring all your friends, order everything, and share. The deal get you a welcome bellini, 10 small plates, a main, dessert and unlimited prosecco so it’s an absolute no-brainer. You get a great selection and taste of Roka’s menu from fresh sashimi and sushi to tempura and deliciously charcoaled dishes from their robata menu. I opted for the black cod marinated in yuzu miso this time around for my main but this is a £19 supplement and I would stick with the main options next time (there are so many great ones). All this food with amazing service… just wait until you see the dessert platter.


Good For: special occasions, business dinner, date night, large groups

tastemaker

There's only one thing you need to know about Roka in my opinion and that is the meat!

Yes the decor is sophisticated, the clientele generally well to do and atmosphere civilised. But the meat!

We dined on an offer which bombarded us with about 10 small veggie/seafood dishes to start our meal. They were nice. Not sure I could say much more about them. Some edamame, tempura peppers and asparagus, chilled mashed sweet potato with dressing, mushrooms, sushi, some robata cooked items.

Then we got to chose a main dish each. I literally had the best beef I have ever eaten. It was cooked to absolute perfection with a slight crust and beautifully soft middle.

My friend had chicken which was superbly spiced and again had crispy bits from the BBQ but was wonderfully tender.

For desert there was a sharing platter with some fruit and the most divine chocolate things, cakes, ice cream and sorbets.

This was all topped off with free flowing prosecco.

In the future I will ignore the veg dishes - I was too full to properly appreciate the desert.

The food and atmosphere here is perfect for a special occasion or random treat. Yes it's pricey but worth it and if you can get a voucher don't hesitate to snap it up.

tastemaker

Well I sadly missed out on the Time Out voucher for the bottomless brunch at Roka, but manages to find a pretty decent offer elsewhere - 3 courses and a glass of champagne for £33, and for for me it was totally worth every penny. For starters we had a selection of dishes which consisted of napa cabbage in garlic and hot chilli, beef and ginger dumplings and the chefs sashimi selection (the fish was soo fresh and well presented). For main my friend and I both went for the salmon terriyaki which came with steamed rice. For dessert you get to choose one from the al a carte menu, all looked amazing. 


Overall thoughts -  this contemporary Japanese restaurant is a great place for a special occasion. Without the deal, it can be pretty expensive but I have to say it was one of the best Japanese restaurants I have been to. The restaurant is big and in the centre is a cooking station where you can see your food being prepared, the staff are attentive and very helpful. After our dinner we moved to the bar where we had a few cheeky cocktails all were too pretty to drink! 


Great evening spent! 


My friend and I recently bought two Time Out vouchers for the famous Roka bottomless brunch which we attended last Sunday (18th June). Unfortunately several hours after we had eaten we were both very ill, I won't go into detail but it was not a pleasant way to end my weekend. We ate the same dishes including the main course which was the beef sirloin but something was obviously not quite right resulting in us both getting food poisoning. I don't believe the food was at all fresh on the day we came and it wouldn't surprise me if other diners were ill that evening as well. We emailed Roka Aldwych to let them know what had happened and we have yet to receive a response/apology. I've visited a few of the other branches in the past and have never come across anything quite as disappointing as this, I'm not sure I would recommend this voucher following this experience.

Tastemaker

I FINALLY got my hands on one of the highly coveted Time Out vouchers for a bottomless boozy brunch at Roka! I now understand why they sell like hot cakes. The venue itself is beautiful, with friendly, helpful staff and a good buzz. We received a Bellini on arrival and the prosecco began to flow soon after. We then had 10 starter dishes to share followed by a main (we chose ribs) and a dessert platter (and the prosecco just kept on coming!) Each dish was gorgeous and just the right portion size but the standout plates have to be the sashimi, the pork dumplings and the ribs. By the time dessert came I thought I was done for - but then I saw a chocolate Buddha and couldn't resist! Luckily it was mostly fruit accompanying it so I managed to find a bit of extra space ;) Overall, the whole experience was faultless. I will definitely be trying to get my hands on another voucher when they come back up, and I recommend you do the same!


I came here on a Timeout deal & was blown away. The variety & quality of the food was outstanding. The staff were friendly & attentive. Our deal included wine or prosecco & the bubbles kept flowing. Dessert was a work of art too. V impressed.

tastemaker

I took advantage of the Time Out offer for the Roka Weekend Brunch menu - usually £55, we got it for £34 - and what a deal!


The menu includes a selection of starters, which are unlimited - so don't be shy when ordering, as well as much wine as you want, and a main and dessert platter (the highlight for me)!  I went for chicken with chilli, lemon and garlic soy, as they'd just run out of the beef rib eye, which is what my sister got - both dishes were yummy!


The service was good and staff were attentive.  There was a nice atmosphere, and although it was busy, it didn't feel claustrophobic.  Definitely worth a visit! 



Tastemaker

Roka is incredibly good. The food here is just so moreish, packed with flavour and beautifully presented that I would quite happily pay the prices for the food here regularly, and I'm tight with my money. Probably not one to indulge in on a regular basis, but if there is an offer for the food here then you should snap it up immediately and face the consequences later, as the whole package from when you walk in to the venue to when you leave is fantastic. 


Warm friendly service with a cloak room, well balanced cocktails and a cracking wine list, great plates of food that had us oo'ing and ahh'ing every time one came out, and just a very memorable evening!

Tastemaker

Roka is a mini Japanese restaurant chain and their Aldwych restaurant is beautiful and simple in design with a long bar at the front and an open kitchen as the focal point in the dining area. I was lucky enough to get to go recently for the Timeout deal which was 10 sharing plates, a main, dessert platter and unlimited prosecco or wine. The whole experience was incredible - there were so many amazing dishes to try and the service was very attentive and professional. At the beginning of our meal we were given a blood orange bellini and after that our glasses were never left empty. I am vegetarian and they were accommodating in providing me with alternatives for each of the sharing plates. We got to sample tempura, sushi, dumplings, Japanese pickles and a number of different salads. I had a truffle and mushroom rice pot for my main and all of my friends said their meat mains were delicious too. For dessert, we were presented with a stunning platter - complete with a chocolate buddha. We definitely left feeling full and the whole dining experience was excellent.

tastemaker

Like many other reviewers, my friends and I took full advantage of the Time Out Boozy Brunch £30 Offer. No wonder why the deal constantly sells out within a few hours, it was worth the full price and more. Unlike most locations that offer Brunch with Unlimited Prosecco, we didn't feel rushed out the door or ignored for refills by the staff at Roka. The food was great too. The perfect opportunity to try different types of sushi and sashimi. Will be definitely returning to Roka with or without the deal. 


I took a few friends along with my Time Out Offer for £30pp starter selection and main with dessert and bottomless prosseco. What a great deal for such stunning food. The quality of each dish was superb and there was more than enough food for everyone to feel completely satisfied. While I might have ordered more non vegetarian dishes and more sushi if I was not on the deal, the variety of flavours and textures was great and the Sea Bream was a surprising stand out. The service was very good but there was some confusion over how many Bellinis we could have; this was overcome by ordering too many really tasty Whiskey Sours. The staff were all very nice despite being a little male dominated and there was a nice buzz from the mix of young and trendy millennials and couples and families. Having had a few great meals at the Charlotte Street original, the buzz and energy of this outpost does not match the original but for this kind of value, you couldn't find a better way to spend Sunday evening dinner with friends or family.

Tastemaker

This is one of my favourite places for Japanese food. Hamish Brown is one of the best in the business and is extremely personable. More importantly, he makes delicious food that is often more healthy than you think! Timeout does a great voucher where it offers the Han Setto brunch, which is usually well priced already, for an even further discount! Free flow of amazing food and also free flow of wines... what more could you possibly ask for for 30 pounds! Be warned, the vouchers sell out in under a day...

Tastemaker

Taking advantage of a TimeOut offer entitling us to 10 starters, one main dish, a dessert platter and unlimited bubbles for £30, which I am sure you will agree, is an AWESOME deal.

I can’t even remember all the starters we had, they came thick and fast and we gorged ourselves as soon as the plate hit the table!

The ones I can recall are the salads, which for salads were incredibly good. Some fantastic sashimi, dumplings and maki. For our mains, we went for the Tai No Miso-Yaki (sea bream) and Kushi Yaki Moriawase (grilled skewer selection).

There are no apropos words to explain how good this sea bream actually was, nonsensically delicious, I would go back at full price for that dish alone.

Even though this is a very classy restaurant (how I got in, I don’t know!), the staff are wonderfully kind and didn’t hurry us out despite overrunning our allocated time slot. Class without the pretention is a rare find, ROKA set the bar high.


I went to Roka Aldwych with a friend for their brunch with unlimited food and wine. We had the Roka voucher offer from Time Out which was great value for money. We did upgrade £15 each so we could have the black cod and lamb cutlets. Which were both out of this world! The sashimi was lovely and fresh. There were a couple of cold starters I've not had before which made a change but I am not sure I would order again. Overall the meal was lovely and I would go back. 


So I have a confession: my only experiences of Roka have been at their weekend brunch. But their absolutely excellent weekend brunch that I have now frequented three times is without a doubt worth a review.


The brunch consists of a number of starter share plates, a main course (you select one per person on the table), followed by what can only be described as a dessert extravaganza, which I imagine is probably one of the most Instagrammed desserts in London. The dishes are nicely varied and always delicious, with the added bonus of being able to order as many of the starter plates as you like – something they don’t like to advertise, but is definitely part of the deal.


And for the lovers of weekend-drinking, you’ll be pleased to know that you’ll receive a refreshing Bellini on arrival, and then your choice of prosecco, red or white wine throughout the meal up until dessert is served. And, because they have such wonderfully attentive staff, you will find your glass is always kept full and you’ll rarely need to ask for a top-up.


The restaurant itself is a lovely space, if a little dark at times, so combine that with the great food, lovely staff, and free-flowing booze, you’re in for a good time. 


Tastemaker tip for you: Keep an eye-out for the Roka brunch deal on Time Out Offers. It’s an absolute bargain, and now so popular it sells out in a matter of hours. Jump on it fast and your friends will thank you for it.


Went to Roka Aldwych bank holiday Sunday, I'd been looking forward to it for weeks as I've heard so many good things. I was extremely underwhelmed. When we entered the restaurant we were blasted with hot air, the restaurant itself was very hot and uncomfortable throughout the meal, even though the weather outside was not particularly hot.


We opted for the tasting menu, there were plenty of dishes on the menu and the dishes themselves were beautifully presented and the amount of food was generous, as you can see from my photos. However, the food was pretty tasteless, spices and flavours did not compliment each other, and the salads were covered in so much sesame dressing it rendered most dishes sour and unappetising. There was not a lot of flavour from the meat, fruit or vegetables, which made me feel like they were probably poor quality. 


I wish I could say the service was much better but unfortunately it wasn't. All the staff seemed vacant and disengaged, our waitress was particularly quiet and sullen. They were exceptionally slow with our drinks, which felt even more apparent due to the heat in the restaurant. Overall I would not go there again or recommend the restaurant. Maybe the other branches are better, but I don't see how they can justify their service or prices.

Tastemaker

Just on Aldwych, Roka has opened its famous Japanese cuisine again. The booking process was easy and I had a very pleasant experience on the phone and also via email with them. I had a Time out voucher for brunch and the staff and team were very accommodating. The offer included: ten small plates, a main, desserts platter, a belini and unlimited wine for two hours! What could possibly go wrong?! We got seated at our table and the restaurant area, was completely packed. It was very noisy and you could hardly hear yourself think. The acoustics in this place are not very good. The belini came swiftly as did our first ten plates, mixture of different salads and sushis, all very tasty. I ordered the sirloin steak, which was divine and my partner had the mixed grill skewers which were also yummy. The wine flowed and flowed and everyone got progressively louder and more drunk. The dessert platter was lovely, a good selection of different fruits, chocolate soufflé and creme brûlée. Fifteen minutes left of our two hours sitting, we were told this was our last wine top up, which was fine as we managed about 4 glasses each. This was my first brunch with unlimited fizz experience in London and it was great, despite at the end one lady missing the toilet and there were vomit trails all the way to the bathroom.

Staff Writer

i was lucky enough to buy the Time Out voucher and get the 10 courses menu at this branch of Roka and it was simply brilliant! The venue is beautiful, the services great and the food is outstanding, delivered in Roka's style!


So I am back on Time Out to follow up with my previous review of Roka Aldwych. I returned to Roka Aldwych a few days ago to attend the sunday brunch with the fantastic Time Out offer priced at £30 instead of the usual £55. I have to say that I am sad to report that I was sightly disappointed this time as my previous experience was outstanding... They changed the brunch menu and it is not as spectacular as before...the avocado-maki was a let down, and the sushi were missing. and the deserts selection is random..not to mention the service was nothing special. The drinks were flowing - that has not changed. I don't think this this branch is up to the standard of Charlotte's street yet, my experience was not memorable. I will definitely return to the ROKA on CHARLOTTE STREET that I LOVE as you get never disappointed there overall.

Staff Writer

We went with the Time Out offer for the 10 course menu. It was just brilliant. The food was amazing, and it also included a cocktail and unlimited wine which made the moment even better. The service was as great as the food.

Staff WriterStaff Comp

I am a Roka fan, my favourite being Charlotte st. I was keen to try Roka Aldwych and it didn't disappoint.  We went last Thursday with friends and started off with cocktails at the bar followed by an array of wonderful dishes. The black cod never disappoints and the soft shell crab maki is a must.  Disappointingly the famous yoghurt and almond cake, mango toffee, caramel miso ice cream was not on the menu but they made it specially for me, which was a nice touch.  Great atmosphere, lovely decor but expect to not leave for less than £100 a head. 

Staff Writer

I bought Time Out's offer for the Han Setto brunch mainly because it was a fantastic deal but partly because people were going on and on about how amazing it was. They weren't wrong, and I racked up a hefty number of excellent-friend-birthday-present-giving points.

We were booked in for a two hour slot and took our time (to savour the fantastic food but also, I won’t lie, to maximise the ‘complimentary wine before dessert’ portion of the meal). The service was absolutely fantastic, at no point did we feel rushed at all; the staff were attentive but never hovered and the food and wine just kept appearing, with second helpings recommended when we were bought new dishes. And excellent service and copious amounts of wine aside that’s where Roka really shines. The food is beautiful, subtle and fresh; I’d recommend the sea bass main but my friend was equally thrilled with the beef. And any meal that ends with a chocolate Buddha has got to be a winner.

If you’re looking to be spoiled with beautiful contemporary Japanese food and a relaxed atmosphere, you can’t go wrong.


Food here was excellent very tasty and there was a very good choice! I had the 10 course tasting menu. Perfect night with really good atmosphere.


 Staff were all very nice and gave us excellent service!
Staff WriterStaff Comp

We spent a lovely afternoon here with a set menu and all you can drink wine! Really good value and a different sort of Sunday brunch that was fun! Plus, the dessert platter featured a chocolate Buddha.

moderatorStaff Writer

Great place if you're looking for some top end dining with an informal atmosphere; the food is exceptional and keeps on coming if you go for one of the taster menus. Yes it's quite pricey but you can justify the cost based on the quality.


We had a great Sunday afternoon here whilst enjoying the extensive Han Setto menu. The food was fantastic and even after the 10 dishes we each had to start, we were then offered additional dishes for no extra cost. The steak for main course and creatively decorative dessert platter were also perfect, although by then I was already happily full. The wine offered on the Han Setto (White, Red and Prosecco) were also all really good as was the grapefruit bellini on arrival. I'd recommend this restaurant and the Han Setto menu to anyone wanting to while away a couple of hours with great food and drink in a comfortable environment. 


Its not often I buy a deal/voucher, but is not often you see one like this! Roka latest restaurant Aldwych, instead of our yearly get to together in Canary Wharf, same swanky layout, but instead of going up buffet style they have table service for the 10 sharing dishes with option to have any dishes as mnay thimes as you like. A good idea to order different mains as we all sharedc those as well!, when the dessert platter arrived, and I mean platter!! We couldn't of asked for more, great service and unlimited wine, wow!

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