Review: ROKA Aldwych Bottomless Brunch, London
I often browse online for internet for London deals and came across Time Out’s Bottomless brunch offer with ROKA. I bought two vouchers online, which removed 23% off the usual price, and visited the award winning Japanese restaurant on a Saturday lunchtime.
The restaurant I booked was in Aldwych and was housed in a handsome stone building with floor to ceiling windows. There was a distinct Japanese theme throughout with Japanese ceramics and wooden shutters displayed prominently.
There was a water basin at the entrance inside reminiscent of a Chozuya or purification water pavilion. Thankfully we didn’t have to purify our bodies before going into the shrine/restaurant.
In reality this was probably just a pretty water feature that added a nice element of nature along with the stone wall panels.
I was a bit early so I and my bf were sat at the bar as the staff prepared for opening. In front of us were plenty of flute glasses, some of which were filled with Bellini, which were an indication of just how popular the bottomless brunch menu was.
The main restaurant area faced the open kitchen and there was a whole wall filled with clocks showing different international times to add a global touch. The soft lighting gave it a cosier feel which softened the effect of the surrounding concrete pillars.
It took a while for the kitchen to start up so we had a lot of time to read through the leather bound menu and use a warm hand towel.
As part of the Han Setto menu we had 10 dishes to share and a choice of one main from a selection.
We then had a choice of red or white wine throughout the meal and we went for the white option. The wine was okay but topped up quite sporadically and this was fine for me as I’m not a big drinker, but may annoy those who want their money’s worth of pure alcohol. There’s a version of the brunch without the bottomless aspect available as an option for a lower price.
We started off with steamed edamame with sea salt: It was soft and fresh.
Then came the Otsukemono no moriawase, or a selection of vegetable pickles:
The cucumber had a nice spicy heat to it, the radish was satisfyingly crunchy and I liked that the kimchi wasn’t too spicy.
The Satsumaimo to kyuri salada, or sweet potato and cucumber salad with wasabi yoghurt:
This dish was creamy with some nice crunch from the cucumbers. The sweet potato had a surprising bread like texture. It tasted pretty flavourless and bland overall and felt like a texture experiment.
letasu no salada to miso shoga, or iceberg salad with carrot and ginger miso dressing:
The light and tangy sauce complemented the iceberg lettuce pleasantly and I liked the crunchy texture.
Sashimi and Sushi
Sashimi mori to taru taru, or chef’s sashimi selection with chirashi tartare:
The salmon was very fresh, not too cold and I enjoyed the creamy salmon tartar sauce. There were no seperation of layers and I detected a slight cheesy taste.
Gindara saikyo to kappa no yuzu maki, or black cod maki, yuzu miso, cucumber,
The sweet yuzu taste really permeated, although I could taste the crunchy cucumber. This was very sweet and salty simultaneously.
Daikon maki to shiso sosu, or braised daikon maki with avocado and shiso aioli:
This was a huge sushi kick with the combination of wasabi, creamy mayo and pepper.
Noodles, Dumplings and Tempura
Komeko men no sarada to matsunomi, or brown rice noodle salad with roasted pine nut miso:
Tori to goma no gyoza, or chicken, sesame and dark sweet vinegar dumplings:
The gyozas were very warming with a generous meat to dough ratio and a good kick at the end with the sweet chilli oil and pepper addition.
Tempura no moriawase, or assorted vegetable and prawn tempura
The tempura was very light and not oily at all with nice chunky sweet potato used. I don’t like fried items very much but this was tolerable to good.
The prawn tempura was quite raw, soft, had lots of batter and was slightly sweet.
For my main I chose the Sake teriyaki, or salmon fillet teriyaki with sansho salt main:
The salmon was so very soft and it was delicious. This was a simple dish done well.
My bf chose the Kushi yaki moriawase or grilled skewers main:
This was adequate. The chicken skewer was a little raw, had a very spicy marinade and aftertaste and could be juicier. The beef skewer in comparison was very juicy but could be hotter, although it did however have a nice and smoky sweet sauce.
Finally we had the pièce de résistance in the ROKA dessert platter:
The desserts were very well designed and tasty; the fruits were fresh, the custard dessert mixed really nicely with crunchy crushed biscuits and the sorbets were nicely tart and sweet.
My favourite was the pink ice cream, which I assumed was grapefruit flavour. No clue though as the waiting staff appeared too busy to talk through the food items.
When you cut into the Buddha some blood-like sauce would come out…so that was morbid. The chocolate was dense and very smooth which made it all okay.
Also apparently blood is sweet.
The ROKA bottomless brunch deal was fairly interesting. It had a decent variety of food, champagne that could’ve been poured more frequently and a price point that was quite reasonable for London.
The brunch menu was a very popular option for a girly meet-up or a date and could be a nice celebration meal as well, especially if you grab a deal online which comes pretty frequently.
ROKA Bottomless Brunch (Han Setto Menu)
Address: 71 Aldwych, Holborn, London WC2B 4HN
Opening hours: Saturday from 11:30am – 3:30pm and Sunday from 11:30am – 8:00pm (booking required with voucher)
Cost: £59 per person (£45 per person using TimeOut voucher excluding an optional service charge of 13.5% which will be automatically added to your bill)