Roka Mayfair – Japanese fine dining W1

Robata at Roka – fine dining for treat times

For a special occasion this evening, K and I headed to Roka for some seriously special Japanese robata (charcoal grilled) food. We chose this branch for its menu (see Roka Mayfair menu) which includes black cod, a favourite of mine.

Tuna tataki, beef gyoza, tenderstem broccoli + chicken skewers

We ordered a bottle of dry white wine by La Croix Belle wine estate @ £34.00 – appropriate for a mild Spring evening, and spicy dishes and fish.

While the premium tasting menu looked quite appealing (10 set dishes @ £88.00 each) it seemed like a lazy option. We preferred the enjoyment of reading all of the menu and ordering exactly what we wanted.

As food was arriving at the neighbouring table, it was quite a challenge not to simply copy what they had – it smelt amazing. We took their recommendation for the fried aubergine salad, and were glad we did.

For starters, we shared these plates:

Age nasu no goma-ae @ £6.60
fried aubergine, sesame miso and katsuobushi

Yakitori-negima yaki @ £5.90
chicken skewers with spring onion

– Broccoli no shinme, shoga to moromi miso @ £5.60
tenderstem broccoli, ginger and moromi miso

Beef gyoza @ £9.30
with pickled cucumber and a soy based sauce

Nigiri unagi @ £6.90
two pieces of freshwater eel sushi

Fried aubergine salad with sesame miso + katsuobushi (tuna flakes) –  @ £6.60

This fried aubergine with sesame miso was a recommendation worth sharing. Absolutely gorgeous. And the eel nigiri (pictured below) was the best I’ve had in the UK – we ordered two portions.

Two pieces of nigiri unagi – freshwater eel sushi @ £6.90

Yellowfin tuna tataki – with apple mustard dressing @ £12.60

For main course, we shared:

Kihada maguro no tataki @ £12.60
yellowfin tuna tataki with apple mustard dressing

Gyuhireniku no pirikara yakiniku @ £24.30
spicy beef fillet with chilli, ginger and spring onion

and, saving the best ’til last…

Gindara no saikyo-jaki @ £37.60
black cod marinated in yuzu miso

Spicy beef fillet – with chilli, ginger and spring onion @ £24.30

Just divine. This black cod may seem a bit pricey @ £37.60 but it absolutely blew me away. And you can’t put a price on that.

Black cod marinated in yuzu miso @ £37.60

The kitchen is open plan in the centre of the restaurant, so you can see the food being cooked on the robata grills. It’s a bit like posh BBQ-ing really.

Men at work: robata grills in the centre of the restaurant


Roka Mayfair interior

Our total bill for two came to £185.21 including service.


The verdict: Perfectly prepared and beautifully presented food that’s so incredibly tasty, it blew me away. Full marks to the kitchen. Service was at odds (either too much – we went from different servers descending on us one after the other, to non-existent). If you like Japanese food, you’ll love Roka.


Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
– Type: Japanese, Robata
– Address: 30 North Audley Street, London
– Postcode: W1K 6ZF
– Nearest station: Bond Street, Green Park
– Website + menus: Roka Mayfair website
– Roka Mayfair photos: Roka Mayfair photos on flickr
– Location: Roka Mayfair map

Roka Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Truc Vert re-visited (NOW CLOSED)

Update 29 March 2017: I walked past this restaurant on North Audley Street in Mayfair this evening and was sorry to see it’s closed down. It can only have happened recently as the furniture and contents haven’t been removed yet. Sorry to see you go, Truc Vert.

_ _ _

We paid another visit to Truc Vert (follow link for more info) last night. It was as good as it’s always been.

The marché area seems to have been cut back to make room for more tables (sensible idea, or perhaps it’s just because it’s winter so there’s no outdoor dining).

We were in time to take advantage of the ‘three courses for £25’ menu prix fixé before 7.30pm, which is great value given a starter is around £9 and a main course around £19 anyway.

For a starter, I had seared cod and salmon fish cakes with marinated fennel, beetroot, slow roast cherry tomato and horseradish sauce (a la carte price: £8.50), followed by roast venison with sweet potato, seasonal vegetables and peas with mint (a la carte price: £18.95). The venison was tender and slightly rich with a liver-like flavour.

roast venison + sweet potato

Another member of the party had roast Gressingham duck breast with mixed bean cassoulet, roast figs and dressing (a la carte price: £18.50) which was also tender and tasty, and not too fatty (as duck can sometimes be) and a definite hit.

roast Gressingham duck

A Viognier Le Versant, Vins de Pays d’ Oc dry white wine @ £20 a bottle went well with the fishcakes starter, as did the Argentine Malbec, Bodegas Los Clop red @ £21 with the red meats.

For the third course, we each opted for a cheese mixed platter served with fresh nutty bread and Truc Vert chutney, with a port.

A couple of jazz musicians were playing which was a really nice touch but made it slightly challenging to have a conversation and hear one other.


See full Lardbutty blog-post on Truc Vert, here.

Square Meal

Suze in Mayfair – NOW CLOSED

Closed as of November 2013. Shame.

Lardbutty restaurant of the month – 5/5
I only noticed Suze in Mayfair recently – next to Truc Vert, an old favourite, on North Audley Street. We went last night for a special occasion: to celebrate it being ten years since K and me got together. And everything was fabulous.

The table was booked for 8.30pm and the restaurant was packed when we arrived. The main ground floor restaurant was filled with a party who appeared to be enjoying a food and wine matching event with a host.

We were led upstairs to a small, cosy attic-like room containing about six tables for two. Service was friendly, prompt and attentive from the word go. Our waiter was happy to give his opinion and share his recommendations when asked, displaying a good knowledge – and fondness – of the food served (even though he didn’t work there but was just helping out a friend!? – yep, I guess it’s just that kind of place).

The menu changes regularly but this sample menu gives you an idea of what’s on offer, including Australasian specialities of – sometimes – kangaroo fillet and New Zealand lamb.

For starters, we shared squid (£5) and venison carpaccio (£5). K chose the venison, it’s not something I’d pick, but I was pleasantly surprised. Both were perfect.

Pie of the day – chicken

For mains, K had the pie of the day (£13.95) (chicken and vegetables) which was simply outstanding, while I had lamb fillet (£17.50). I asked for it to be medium cooked (rather than my usual: medium rare) as the waiter said the kitchen crew were likely to err on the side of under-cooking than over-cooking (top tip). Again, it was perfect – slightly bloody in the middle, very tender, with an outer crunch and served with two divine sauces that complemented the flavours (minted crème fraiche and spicy tomato).

New Zealand lamb fillet

We shared a cheese board @ £10.90. You can pick three cheeses, we chose stilton, yarg (a Cornish, semi-hard white cheese) and reblochon (brie-like, from Haute-Savoie), with premium ports @ £5.45 each (a generous glassful).

Including a bottle of Yalumba viognier and excluding tips, the total bill was £87.80, which seemed pretty reasonable for such good quality, well cooked and presented food.

So, you go out to celebrate and hope to have an exceptional evening. And it can be all too easy for those plans not to live up to your high expectations. There’s a certain pressure in the build up (as opposed to a serendipitous happening).

Suze in Mayfair fulfilled our expectations. And some.

We’ll definitely go back.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 5 / 5
~ Type: Australasian, New Zealand (ish) slash British, international
~ Address: 41 North Audley Street, London
~ Postcode: W1K 6ZP
~ Tel: 020 7491 3237
~ Nearest tube: Bond Street
~ Website + menus: Suze in Mayfair website
~ Location: Suze in Mayfair map

Suze on Urbanspoon