Charlotte Street’s ROKA welcomed the autumn season in with a whimsical, fairytale lake maple tree installation in their quirky Shochu basement lounge. It’s the perfect spot to fill up on dumpling platters, sushi and huge noodle dishes under orange coloured tree leaves, soaring above and across the ceiling

Words: Rachel Mantock

Everything always goes off without a hitch when dining at ROKA’s flagship restaurant. Both the upstairs and the Shochu lounge in the basement carry a lively yet relaxing vibe making it difficult to choose where to sit when booking. I’d recommend having your mains upstairs and dessert and cocktails downstairs afterwards if the seating plan allows it. This way, you get the best of both worlds, and don’t miss out on their wonderful maple tree installation which is a must see. This installation follows on from their blossom tree installation that took place during summer, with a focus on traditional Japanese culture, whereby the changing of the seasons and the beauty of trees are both greatly appreciated.

There is not a request too big or small for the team at ROKA, who can bring even the fussiest of eaters to a quick decision about what to eat, never leaving them disappointed. It’s almost as if they know what you want to eat before you do. Ravenous as soon as I walked through the door, my guest and I basically ordered the entire starter menu, only realising we were stuffed when we took the second bites out of our main dishes. Their starters are deceptively light and the feeling of fullness creeps up on you. Sea bream fillet, ryotei miso and red onion robata, along with rock shrimp tempura, garnished with wasabi pea seasoning and chilli mayonnaise arrived at the table first, before crunchy maki with scallops and yuzu dressing, along with seared beef and black truffle dressing came through to the table for round two.

Even though I’d been eyeing the dessert menu all evening, I was too full to even think about chocolate sundaes and almond cake once it was time for the third course as I sat sipping my pineapple cocktail out of a cool, tribal like vase of some sort. Obviously, I regretted this an hour later in my Uber on the way home and for about three days after that…

37 Charlotte Street W1T 1RR; 020 7580 6464;

Come see us during #LondonCocktailWeek at our restaurants or the Spitalfields hub & post pics of your #LCW2016 drinks tagged #LCWROKA At the end of the weekend, we'll be picking winners for a meal for 2 and exclusive bottles of Nikka Whisky and Akashi-Tai sake! #roka #shochu #win #cocktail #cocktails #japanese #sake #whisky #nikka #kaiseki

A photo posted by Roka (@rokarestaurant) on

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