The problem for Roka at Canary Wharf in our opinion is threefold: first, it's a surprisingly large restaurant which means mass production rather than personalisation, second, it is ultimately a concept restaurant, a chain even (no matter how authentic) rather than a chef led restaurant, third (and tied in to one and two), it is caught in the middle market, clearly many grades above the Yo! Sushis of the world but still not at the top of its class where presumably its even pricier sibling Zuma can make a claim to be (Zuma Dubai is rated 83rd on the SP World's Best Restaurants list).
Perhaps this is all a long way of saying that we enjoyed the meal at Roka, but given the lightness of our pocket after, and knowing what we could get at Mayfair's swankiest stars for the same money, we felt we should have enjoyed it more.
We opted for their tasting menu (£75pp) to get a broad selection of what they do. It starts with the 'sashimi moriawase' comprising yellowtail, o-toro, langoustine and salmon. This is in our view was the best dish of the meal and the best thing too about Roka. It was all pretty much excellent and we imagine it is consistently so.
The next section of the menu comprises wagyu sushi, foie gras, lobster and black cod dumplings, and scallop skewers. Here things became a little more diverse in their appeal, the scallops excellent, the lobster dumpling surprisingly bland.
The same mixed reception was afforded the next four plates, asparagus, black cod in yuzo, lamb cutlets in Korean spices and rice hot pot of crispy soy chicken and fresh truffle. This latter dish, as well as fresh truffle, had we believe a most liberal dose of truffle oil overwhelming the dish which admittedly would have had little merit anyhow. Nothing in this quartet seemed that special and not helping matters, with everything arriving to the table at the same time at a table that could scarcely accommodate the plates, it was impossible not to find some of the dishes go cold while waiting to be eaten.
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