Taste

Cherry Blossoms in the sky…Shochu Lounge (ROKA)

Location:  Downstairs of ROKA Restaurant. 37 Charlotte St,
Fitzrovia, London W1T 1RR 

Date & Time: Wednesday 25th April 2018 at 6.15pm
Total Cost: £45
Shochu Lounge


First Impressions

As you walk down the stairs to enter the lounge, you are welcomed by a very friendly gentleman (guess what you’d call a maître d’), but also immediately surprised by the scenic appearance of the lounge with pink cherry blossoms (Sakura) and their interlocking branches occupying the ceiling. Mood lighting is used all around to accentuate the blossoms as well as provide a dark and mysterious atmosphere with lots of shadows and hidden corners. It was very enticing, they even had a very large painting  on the wall of naked Japanese geisha eating.

We arrived at around 6.30pm and chose a spot at the bar, we sat quite central to the lounge with a good view of the whole layout. The evening started with sensual and soothing background music. As the night progressed, the music got a lot louder and quite intrusive, to the point where you had to lean in close to have a clear conversation. However, based on the setting, we guess that this was all part of creating the atmosphere and an invitation to transition from a chilled evening to a lively night.

The staff were very friendly and attentive without appearing bothersome, which made us feel a lot more comfortable and welcomed.


Bar Food Order
SATSUMO TEMPURA (v) – £8.90
Sweet potato tempura with  spicy yuzu dipping sauce
TOUMOROKOSHI NO SHIO BATA YAKI (v) – £5.90
Sweet corn with smoked butter and spicy shiso

Drinks:
SHOCHU ON THE BEACH – £12.90
Cherry shochu, pineapple & cranberry, peach liqueur, passionfruit, lime
BANIRA TO KOHI SHOCHU (Coffee & Vanilla flavour) – £7.90
served on hand-carved ice
JASUMIN SHOCHU (Jasmine flower flavour) – £7.90
served on hand-carved ice
CHIHIRO-SAN – non alcoholic cocktail – £4.90
Lychee, coconut water, lime and soda

Our Thoughts on the Food

SATSUMO TEMPURA – Sweet Potato
This was alright, nothing fantastic to rave about but it wasn’t bad either. The potato tempuras were very bland but we assumed this was to coincide with the really strong vinegar tasting dipping sauce provided. After a few tries, we gave up on the sauce, vinegar is just not our thing. We kindly asked for some other sauces – satay etc, which to our confusion they did not have. Nevertheless, they upped the service by bringing us a double chilli set instead. Both chilli options complimented the simple tasting sweet potato by adding some spice and extra kick! Going forward, it’s unlikely that we would  order this dish again …. it  simply didn’t leave a lasting impression on our palette.

TOUMOROKOSHI NO SHIO BATA YAK – Sweetcorn
Now THIS! THIS! We can sing about… This SHOCKED us! When we saw the description of sweetcorn, we actually  sat and discussed whether such a place would serve corn on the cob. We came to the conclusion that corn in this form was “just too messy to eat”, so they probably wouldn’t. Guess what? We couldn’t have been more wrong…. corn not the cb is exactly what the presented! And it worked! We repeat…It worked! The smoked butter will leave you liking your lips and wanting so much more. It really changed the simple idea of corn on the cob, probably not the healthiest option, but whatever, YOLO right! 😂 Is it wrong that we are salivating while typing this?! We can’t help but reminisce about the  juicy taste – Now that’s a lasting impression!

Our thoughts on the Drinks

SHOCHU ON THE BEACH
Yessssssss hunnnnny! An alcoholic cocktail that tasted strongly and primarily of passionfruit. I loved it 😍, could have kept drinking them all night, the alcohol was strong but was nicely blended with the juice and often difficult in my opinion to detect. ~ Nifesi

JASUMIN SHOCHU
Let’s just say it wasn’t for us! We struggled to finish the little amount we were given. In fact we didn’t. Its hard to describe the taste, but one thing is for sure, it wasn’t sweet to our taste palette.

BANIRA TO KOHI SHOCHU
Hmmm…as above, nahhh pass, maybe Japanese alcohol is not our cup of tea! All we could taste was coffee no vanilla, and as neither of us are coffee drinkers it was difficult to swallow let alone keep sipping. In the end we got it converted to shots so we could down it quickly and not waste it! But like the Jasumin drink, we will not be drinking that again by choice.

CHIHIRO-SAN
This drink was interesting not what I expected at all, it took me a couple of sips to decide whether I was for or against it buttttttt it grew on me. It has a milky but refreshing taste, I’m guessing this is due to the coconut water. I think a more powerful lychee taste would have set..this…drink OFF! ~ Maria
It was nice and reminded me of non-alcoholic Pina coladas without the cream. ~ Nifesi

Final Thoughts

The Lounge is a great spot for pre-drinks and quick small bites in a relaxed but lively environment, as we didn’t try their main food menu, we cannot attest to that experience. However, if its anything like the sweetcorn, you can’t go wrong. We did notice a lot of sushi and the likes, so if you’re down, do try it.  Head over to our Instagram page (@we.tell) to catch a few clips of the venue as well as a sneak peak at the hand carved ice serving.

Overall restaurant rating:  heartheartheartred-heart-outlinered-heart-outline


We have told, now it’s time  for YOU to tell… Please let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below.

Until our next post continue to Taste, Experience, Laugh and Live life to the absolute fullest.

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