By Alanna Lawson
If you have a proclivity for Japanese cuisine, next on your list must be Roka Aldwych.
Combining local British produce with traditional Japanese techniques, the contemporary Robatayaki cuisine and bar-side dining experience makes it a singular destination for tuck or tipple.
WATCH: Inside Roka Aldwych
Located a stone’s throw away from the Royal Courts of Justice and The Strand, it took some time for the team at Roka to find the right site for the restaurant, but the punt they took on a former office space in Aldwych has paid off.
The high ceilings, stone fittings, earthy tones and unique textures – introduced by designer Claudio Silvestrin – coalesce to create a sense of calm and warmth, despite the hive of activity at the central Robata grill.
“We were lucky to be able to find a large space where we could do a large holding bar, high tables and the robata counter, which is something we’ve never done at Roka before,” says Hamish Brown, Roka Group Executive Chef.
The option of the robata counter means guests can interact directly with the chef cooking their dish, and get a feel for the techniques applied. But with room for 160 diners, one can also opt for a private table or seat at the bar.
A destination in its own right, the street-facing bar features high table-top dining at both ends, which creates an easy transition between the drinking and dining spaces. It was also intended to initiate a social hub for the people of Aldwych.
The Yaeyama Islands of Japan inspired the décor but London is ever present, and features in the cocktail list as it does in the menu, a marriage of East and West.
The only criticism? The constant attention of the wait staff, but then again; who doesn’t enjoy a little attention every once in a while?
1. The Wagyu Steak Tartare
2. The Satsumaimo with Nori butter, seaweed and chili