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FACT Review: Robust robatayaki-style cuisine at ROKA Canary Wharf

Following worldwide expansion, FACT returns to ROKA’s roots.

Before expanding across the world to Dubai, Istanbul, Kuwait and Riyadh, Rainer Becker’s ode to Japanse robata cooking originated in the UK capital almost two decades ago. 

Tucked away inside Park Pavillion at 40 Canada Square in London’s bustling financial district, ROKA Canary Wharf is the second of four locations in the capital that opened following the success of the Charlotte Street flagship. Upon entering the restaurant, guests are greeted by a sleek and stylish interior that seamlessly blends modern aesthetics with traditional Japanese elements. The warm wooden tones, subtle lighting, and an open kitchen showcasing the impressive robata grill set the stage for a dining journey that hones the unmistakable vibe of modern Japan. 

ROKA Canary Wharf

While ROKA’s ever-popular menu includes all of the expected classics, from the Lamb Cutlets to the Black Cod marinated in yuzu miso, we revert to old favourites that have proved consistent across the Middle Eastern locations. We treat our dining companion (a ROKA virgin) to the Yellowtail Sashimi with Yuzu-Truffle Rressing (£18.80). This ROKA signature become a firm FACT favourite thanks to the addictive yuzu-truffle dressing, which manages to harmonise the delicate flavours of the fish rather than overpowering them. 

ROKA Canary Wharf

We savour every last mouthful before inhaling the Crab and Black Cod Gyoza (£17.20). A dish that parcels the appealing seafood mixture with edamame, spring onions and a splash of fiery chilli dressing. However, no meal at ROKA is complete without a sushi platter. Styled around sculpted ice, ROKA’s is one of the most Insta-worthy around, and whether you opt for Crispy Prawn Maki (£15.50), O-toro Fatty Tuna Sashimi (£21.60) or the Smoked Eel Sushi with arima sansho pepper – you won’t be disappointed.   

ROKA Canary Wharf

Our main course comes from the heart of the Robata grill, which remains a hub of activity throughout ROKA’s busy after-work rush. The Lamb Cutlets with Korean spices (£38) are beautifully charred and undeniably tender, resulting in a dish that lovers of heat (like us) will fully appreciate. The velvety Seabream Fillet (£22.30) with ryotei miso and red onion is a flaky, favourable choice.

With seven dishes on the concise dessert menu, diners can happily opt for a dessert platter containing all the highlights, from the Miso Crème Brulee (£11) to the Matcha, Coconut and White Chocolate Crunchy Bar (£11) that effortlessly blends Western techniques with Asian flavours.

ROKA

Aside from its remarkable cuisine, ROKA Canary Wharf boasts an extensive selection of sake and Japanese-inspired cocktails, expertly crafted to complement the flavours of the dishes. Combined with casual and friendly service, ROKA Canary Wharf remains an exciting culinary offering and a springboard for the brand’s rapidly expanding reputation. 

Expect a dining experience that exudes personality and uncompromising flavours across its robatayaki-style cuisine. It may be the little sister restaurant of Japanese juggernaut Zuma, but ROKA it’s all grown up. 

GO: Visit www.rokarestaurant.com for reservations and more information.

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David Tapley - Editor-in-Chief
As the editor-in-chief for one of the region’s most fiercely local lifestyle publications, David Tapley is a self-proclaimed Hip-Hop aficionado, championing all things, food, travel, street art, and streetwear across the UAE and KSA.

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