Japanese lunch at Roka – vegetarian delight

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As a lover of all Japanese food and the fact that it was next to my clients office, Roka seemed like a perfect spot for a business lunch. I have to admit it’s one of the best restaurants I’ve been to in a long time and I can’t wait to go back

The food was absolutely divine, we had a selection of dishes which were all beyond fantastic. The service to second to none and I liked the design and style of the venue….the layout of the restaurant is one whereby the food is at the centre. The grill is located bang in the middle and it is possible to sit around it and observe the chefs at work. We opted for a table.

My colleague ordered a variety of dishes including several vegetarian options:

  • Prawn and vegetable tempura with dips
  • Broccoli
  • Various maki including mushroom ones
  • Soy glazed tofu – blocks of firm-on-the-inside, but crispy-on-the-outside tofu with crispy garlic crisps on a sea of soy.
  • Asparagus with sweet soy and sesame dressing
  • Rice hotpot made in a casserole pot of glutinous rice and chicken – they did a veg version
  • Softshell crab with roasted chilli dressing
  • Chicken skewers with spring onions

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Food-wise Roka delivered more than I expected. Flavours were pleasant and ingredients fresh. I loved it and can’t wait to back for a special occasion!

One Aldwych afternoon tea – or not!

I loved Willy Wonka’s Charlie and Chocolate Factory story – Those words are so full of magic and warmth that you cannot help smiling. You have read the books or watched the movies or even seen it live – it’s just such an amazing story! When I heard about a themed afternoon tea at One Aldwych, I was intrigued to see how it would be put together…

We were given a themed menu which was decorated with quirky illustrations dedicated to a different family: Charlie and his granddad Joe, spoilt brat Veruca, gluttonous eating Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregarde, a girl who chews gum all the time and TV loving Mike Teavee. The menu had a list of the treats we had to look forward to.

The adventure starts with the Charlie cocktail, served in a glass teapot with bubbling liqud and smoke coming out. I opted to try the teas: smooth caramel tea which included vanilla and caramel chunks and jewelled apple tea which had wild strawberry leaves, caramel, and apple pieces.

First up was the savoury selection; These included horseradish and roast beef on onion bread, cucumber and chive on wholemeal bread, cured smoked salmon and lemon mayonnaise on rye bread, a heritage tomato tart and a leek and stilton quiche. This is where I felt it was most disappointed as I had advised them of our dietary requirements weeks before saying that we do not eat beef and there were two vegetarians who do not eat eggs in the party. When we mentioned this again, we were only given the cucumber and chive sandwiches and the tart. This was a real shame as most other venues are obliging….and happy to make other options out. When we were asking if we wanted seconds of any, we were brought a small plate of options and had to ask for more which is a shame. This is one of  the smallest amount of sandwiches I’ve had at an afternoon tea – especially considering this was by no means the cheapest! And the options not great for a veggie!

2014-11-16 14.57.42On the sweet side, prepare for a real feast and our main reason for choosing this afternoon tea! This is where the real Charlie and the Chocolate Factory magic really shines through in the sweets, from pear drop and rhubarb and custard candy floss to blueberry brioche, vanilla cheesecake and mango filled golden egg and Eton Mess, which was washed down with chocolate caramel milk in a retro style bottle.

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There was also a little basket was blueberry brioche, scones and cocoa bean financiers. The scones weren’t great – nice enough but not what you normally get at an afternoon tea!. The brioche was tasty, and the financiers really delicious, like mini brownies!

The selection of sweet treats was just so entertainingly made that we all loved to look at it but the tea itself was disappointing! Especially as this wasn’t really a cheap tea at £34.50 per person and we weren’t left feeling full – maybe full of sweet treats but that was it!  I feel that there are much better places for tea including The Atheneum Hotel.