SECRET BRUNCH AWARDS
2 0 1 5 F I N A L I S T : R O K A A L D W Y C H
ROKA, the contemporary Japanese restaurant, known for it's unique style of Robatayaki cuisine. Roka Aldwych is the most recent addition to
the family of four, and is currently the only one offering a fully tailored brunch menu.
The review day was finally here and it was an intriguing prospect for us to analyse the Rabatayaki take on the ever-growing brunch concept.
Through the sliding glass doors we were greeted by a warm friendly smile, standing by a tasteful backdrop of Japanese Shochu and Saki bottles.
In contrast to the edgy Fitzrovian atmosphere of Roka Charlotte Street, the Aldwych restaurant had a simillar feel to that of Roka Canary Wharf. The place was heaving with young city workers, looking fab, whilst entertaining their business interests over a glass of saki and a plate of
sashimi. Surely not at mid-day, on a Saturday?
Suddenly the feeling changed as we took to our seats. A pleasant air of warmth and sense of calmness could be felt about this place. The ‘Zen’ of Zuma resonated through the signature Roka Japanese water bath, the exposed wooden walls, and the elegantly crafted clad stones. There was an air of The Secret Temple about this restaurant.
Could this be the place to seek solitude, brunch, and replenish after a heavy night? Surely not; There were no signs of brunch classics like Eggs- Benedict, Full English, Smoothies, or even Pancakes!
But that was just the point. This is not your typical weekend brunch. This is Roka.
Just like the centre stage of Secret Brunch, this place also has it's own focal point... you! You are the star attraction. Sit back as you would at a luxury spa day, relax into your zen, breathe in the aroma, and let the Robatayaki grill come to you.
T H E S T A R T
We were presented with a bottomless amount of picks from a collection of TEN different Japanese classics. Sort of like an 'all you can eat' buffet, but without the buffet.
You pick, and the food comes to you. Ensuring a fresh delivery and avoiding any age-old buffet-hygene worries.
Our highlights included:
The “Horenso no goma ae salad”, a baby spinach salad with the nutty flavour of a secret recipe sesame dressing.
The "Gyuniku to goma no gyoza", beautiful soft parcels of beef and ginger dumplings. and the "Tempura no moriawase", consisting of prawns, asparagus and pumpkin. All dishes were accompanied by two of the most moorish sauces; "Yuzo sauce and tensuyo & daikon sauce".
In addition, we highly recommend the delicate slivers of fresh tuna, sea bass and salmon sashimi, all beautifully presented on a bed of ice.
Sushi, Dim Sum, Tempura, salads and so on. The choice is endless.
This is perhaps the place to experience the asian cuisine at it's finest and without having to break the bank.
We could have happily continued with our 'starters' until we were told... ‘Now onto the main course’, by the waiter.
The main course? How much more could we possibly eat?
T H E M A I N
We took a walk on the wild side and went for the "Gyuhireniku no pirikar", sliced beef sirloin, presented with chilli and spring onion.
The meat was very tender and the soya sauce was a perfect accompaniment. We also selected the "Sake teriyaki", a simple and flavoursome salmon fillet, which was perfectly cooked. It encumbered the familiar sticky sweet teriyaki glaze, which carried the delicate and firm texture of the fish.
If you want to play it safe, you also have a choice of classic Roka supplements, including the signature black cod with Yuzu miso.
T H E E N D I N G
Just like a day in the spa, the Zen came to an end with the arrival of the Roka desert platter, a colourful and magnificent presentation of refreshing fruits and sorbets. It most certainly deserved the ‘wow’ factor, consisting of a selection of fresh exotic fruits, such as star fruit, dragon fruit, and a number of varieties from lychee family. There were also a variety of sorbets, rich chocolates, and panna cotta with blackberry and peach topping.
The Han Setto Brunch, translated ‘meal menu’ was a truly generous brunch, high in quality and fresh on ingredients. Expect a professional welcome, elegant presentation and on-point service.
S U M M A R Y
The Roka Aldwych offering is far from your typical weekend brunch. But who says a brunch has to consist of just eggs, pancakes and toast?
We always admire anything innovative, and this was right up there. A revolution or perhaps a live demonstration that 'Brunch' can work, no matter what the cuisine.
Give Roka your afternoon and let it find you your Zen. You will not be dissapointed!
Our Verdict: An innovative culinary experience that we would do all over again.
Price: £39 with a Bellini on arrival or £55 with unlimited red/ white wine
Service: No complaints
Will we go back? Yes
Vote HERE to crown Roka Aldwych as your 2015
Voting closes on 5th of December 2015.