This is a collaborative post.
I’m a big fan of tasting menus in general and come the festive season – a lot of London restaurants offer Christmas and Festive Season menus. On this occasion we booked ROKA in Canary Wharf – which was really something unusual because the city is normally not exactly the area we visit. We had tickets to the ATP finals at the O2 that night, which is just a tube stop away from Canary Wharf on the Jubilee line – and the O2 is being full of chain restaurants we decided to rather pick ROKA in a slightly different area but still very close. It was a great evening just as you expect from a venue like ROKA.
Being in the middle of the city means you get quite a lot of business diners around you and although the lounge was busy, the restaurant has a calm atmosphere and the staff is a bit measured too but on a nice, friendly way. Very effortlessly attentive, which was very pleasant. ROKA has a lovely view to the ice rink (just been set up on the square) from the lounge bar. The lights are quite dimmed – perfect first class dining experience.
Vegetarian and vegan options
We both love Japanese food, my husband really loves seafood – which is also my option when no vegetarian dishes are available in a restaurant. I’m not the kind of vegetarian who would starve or make a scene, so yes, sometimes I do eat seafood. But luckily ROKA had a fantastic menu available for vegans. It’s great to see that a lot of restaurants are moving with the wind of change and starting to cater for vegetarians and vegans.
What we chose
Started off with a cocktail and pirikari edamame beans (which was really spicy! I picked a few meat free dishes of my favourite Japanese dishes: yasai no moriawase (assorted vegetable tempura) – this is probably my most favourite Japanese dish and it was fresh, crispy and had lots of texture, just the way I like it. Followed by konasu (eggplant in mirin, ginger and soy) – but this was a mistake as I’ve ordered asparagus. But since I do like eggplant too, I didn’t mind. Satsumaimo (sweet potato baked in bamboo husk) was next on my menu which was delicious too, it’s basically mushed sweet potato which I loved. As a main meal I had yaki atsuage (grilled tofu with shiitake mushrooms, lemon and chilli) which was my favourite of all the food I tasted that night. Very crispy on the outside, perfectly soft on the inside, bursting with flavours. Then I also had ebi furai to avocado (crispy prawn, avocado, chrysanthemum and soy makis). At this point I was already so full with all the rich food that I couldn’t possibly have any desserts on the top of all – Japanese desserts are really intense in flavour in my opinion, just like every Japanese food. My husband picked a fish dish and soft shell crab tempura. And some pickled vegetables – I never tasted pickled mushrooms before, it was interesting. All the food was absolutely delicious and served within a very reasonable time given the fact that everything is freshly prepared in their open kitchen.