When I saw the Emerald Street Supper Club being advertised for Roka Aldwych, it seemed like a good excuse for an indulgent flatmate dinner!
The deal was £55 for 5 courses with matching drinks – cocktails, wine and sake of course!
The tasting menu for the evening
Like the othe branches in Charlotte street & Canary Wharf the restaurant wraps itself around the central open grill and there is a separate bar area for pre / post dinner drinks.
We arrived excepting the set up to be like a supper club – everyone sharing the same table and with the opportunity to meet new people, but unfortunately most of the people who signed up were couples with a ‘romantic dinner’ agenda (excuse me whilst I throw up – ps it’s not a ‘treat’ if you have to book a set menu – bloody pay full price if it’s a special occasion!)
So we had a romantic table for the two of us – lucky we like each other’s company!
So rant over… I like the decor of Roka – lots of warm wood and a cosy feel, even before they put the lights down. There are plenty of group tables as well as the bar seats around the central grill area for couples or singles (although this isn’t really the kinda place you eat alone!)
Our first food course, matched with the Junmai sake was sashimi and a spinach and tahini dressing – beautiful and sublime, so simple yet so tasty!
Next up was veggie sushi of asparagus wrapped with avocado – basically a health food!
Then to get things warmed up some sublime beef gyoza, with delicious lightly pickled cucumber.
By now we had moved on to the wine pairing with the food – white wine first and then the red… My only complaint with this was that the sommelier seemed to be a bit arbitrary on what we should drink with what – that’s not the point of a pairing menu!!
But the best was yet to come – from the grill, spring chicken with ginger, lemon, garlic and chilli – amazing flavour and really well cooked meat – it was succulent!
Next up was what the one Japanese waitress was calling Japanese risotto – the rice hot pot with crab and wasabi fish roe:
A shot of the dish before we demolished it! You can’t see the wasabi roe – but it makes a pleasing crunch and pop in your mouth as your eat (more about the texture than the flavour)
Finally we were feeling stuffed and we still had dessert to come!!
Look at this beauty! We were full, but everyone has a second stomach for dessert, so we tried it all anyway!
There was molten green tea centred chocolate brownie (a signature dessert that Laura adores!), a creme brûlée with whisky ice cream, fresh exotic fruit, and a trio of ice cream and sorbets.
So what’s the verdict?!
Well I really enjoyed the meal – the food was amazing and not only delicious but in classic Japanese tradition, gorgeously presented. The wine and sake matching was good, but not perfectly served throughout – perhaps the staff were too thinly stretched having to deal with each table separately when they were expecting one large table?!
The atmosphere would have been a lot different if the supper club theme had actually happened – but this works better in a private room or a less restrained place to start with….
The service was ok…. Some things were dealt with straight away, but I can’t forgive having to ask at least twice for each glass of water – so I don’t want to buy a bottle… but don’t make me have to ask every single member of staff working that section to get a refill!!
Overall we thought the food was good quality and the price of this special tasting menu with matching wine was very decent, but would I be here on a Monday night without a special reason – no probably not… It wouldn’t be the first of the franchise I would book at either, although Laura preferred it to Charlotte Street, I think I like the Canary Wharf branch better.
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