Friday, October 3, 2008
It's hard to take the Japanese dining experience to a new level.
The decor is already minimalist and modern, the food uses fresh ingredients that are served in beautiful presentations.
What more can you do?
Roka at Pacific Place takes it a step further with pretty good success.
Already at the entrance diners have a warm feel to the place with lots of wood in the decor and literally smoke coming from the open kitchen.
And apparently Roka cames from two words, Ro which means hearth, or gathering place, and Ka means burning fire, or an energetic place.
My friend and I didn't make reservations, but after a short wait we were seated by the bar watching the action in the kitchen.
Staff closest to us were either carefully slicing up slabs of salmon, or carefully tending to seafood and meats grilling on the robata grill, while a black guy, the executive chef barked out orders the cooks enthusiastically responded to.
To start I had a shochu cocktail. Shochu is an ancient Japanese spirit distilled from several raw materials, like barley, buckwheat, sugar or sweet potato.
And my cocktail was infused with honeycomb which was delicious. It was presented in a small glass, with a giant cylindrical piece of ice in it and the golden liquid.
The strong spirit was sweetened by the honey, which helped it go down nicely.
We then sampled a few dishes like a roll with tuna, prawns, and lettuce that was really refreshing, along with terriyaki chicken skewers and honey-roasted chicken wings.
There was also a salad of leaves in a light peanut dressing and tiny cubes of pickled carrot around the dish.
The food was great, but the only complaint was the club music pulsating quite strongly in the background. If the volume was down a touch, it would make it feel more like a hip restaurant than a dance destination serving cool food.
Nevertheless, service was hospitable and enjoyable.
Around HK$475 for two including three drinks. Kanpai!
Level LG1, Shop 002