A while ago something in my head prompted me to share 9 of the ways that London has been made better for me, and one of them I didn’t mention (well, I sorta did) was being adopted by hordes of London bloggers. For some bizarre reason I have been allowed to invite my way into a few informal tribes of genuinely friendly, brazenly brunching, sushi addicted, bubbly loving blog addicts. There’s the loose ring of London Kiwi blog mafia, the massive expat massive and the association of travel addicts (anonymous) that brighten up London life immeasurably, not to mention the individual characters who don’t tie themselves down with memberships.
I don’t know if it’s the effect of such a big city full of a plethora of cultures and nationalities, the enormity of the population size or just the social makeup of the citizens, but for the most part the London foodie/travel blogging scene is a rather friendly collection of individuals. Since I began my corner of t’internet I’ve been to Northern Africa, nipped across The Channel to Paris for lunch, sipped cocktails by the pool in America, tiki toured around Bath and slept like a princess in Gloucestershire, not to mentioned brunching with all with me #internetfriends who have become IRL friends. They are good peoples, everyone of them.
^ If dishes had an instagram/blog per piece value, I’m pretty sure this would win hands down!^
This particular brunch began quite innocently. It started as a touch of chatter, but before we knew it the excitement of a TimeOut offer appearing brunch at Roka Aldwych with bottomless bubbles had us all a-Twitter (literally). I invited myself along (it’s the sad eyes that gets them every time), we sussed out a good date thanks some email lasso-ing and in no time at all we were gathered in the Aldwych branch of Roka.
The restaurant is a beautiful example of Japanese style. Kitted out in leather, polished timber and porphyry stone, the restaurant is understated luxury.
We were put in a quieter corner (a genius move on Roka’s part because bloggers giggling can get LOUD), plyed with prosecco (the sheer joy of the latest bottomless brunch fashion) and generally left to celebrate recent birthdays, engagements, end of study years, recent overseas trips and the fact that it was Sunday.
By this point the bottomless prosecco was kicking in nicely, proved by the blurring of our lenses (both spectacle and camera) so I won’t bore you with step by step analysis of each individual dish, I think I’ll flood you with a slew of mouthwatering images and highlights instead. Ha! That’ll teach you for reading my blog, oh, wait…
Japanese chefs are famous for crisp, clean flavours
and we began our ‘family style’ brunch feast
with bellinis, hot edamame with ginger and soy dressing and otsukemono
no moriawase (a selection of vegetable pickles) that hit the spot. Ok, maybe the
bellinis aren’t Japanese, call that writers license.
We unequivocally loved the sashimi selection,
ordering two of each in quick succession, photographed the Nori off the sushi platter
and it was chopsticks at dawn when gyuniku to goma no gyoza (beef, ginger and
sesame dumplings) and vegetable & prawn tempura disappeared almost
For mains from the robata kitchen, we were allowed
to order a dish each. To give you a rather pertinent idea of personality traits,
from the mains selection we all took the sacred blogger vow to ‘not order the
same dish’ seriously and covered the menu pretty thoroughly. For our blogs, you
In anti-clockwise order, Aftab ordered kushi yaki
moriawase (a sticky grilled skewer selection), Ellie took steps towards Vegan-ism
with the yaki yasai moriawase (a selection of vegetables from the robata) and Angie
surprised us by ordering the tai no miso-yaki (sea bream fillet).
I went for
the gyuhireniku no pirikara yakiniku (beef sirloin, chilli and spring onion) – and
can confirm it’s much better to eat than to pronounce without prior training – but
the overall ‘mmmmmmm’ prize had to go to May’s ridiculously moreish glazed baby
back ribs with cashew nuts and Lauren’s choice of salmon fillet teriyaki .
As we are all generous souls (blaming blog
thoroughness rather than gluttony, take note blog widows), we tried each others
dishes but only a corner or so as by
this point we were getting rather stuffed. The prosecco flowed at a nice pace until
our plates were finished, and were we allowed to sit and relax before dessert
By this point the bottomless prosecco was kicking in nicely, proved by the blurring of our lenses (both spectacle and camera). Our rather epic dessert platter came out to a very appreciate audience and the selection of sorbets, ice creams, fresh fruit, gorgeous chocolate buddha and bowls of tasty treats went down an absolute storm. Once we took our photos of course.
I have a confession to make – the 4 months it took me to blog this is no indication of how much we enjoyed our
morning afternoon evening day, but the fact that I didn’t want to share it shows just fantastic it was (and possibly how long the prosecco affected me).
Oh, and did I mention this feast was an astoundingly good £30? Roka Aldwych, you legend.