Rok is a smokehouse that perfectly blends Northern Europe (predominantly Scandinavian) barbeque techniques with British meat. If that description wets your appetite even an inch, you’d enjoy Rok. A good friend of mine told me about Rok Shoreditch last year, couldn’t stop talking about it. I checked the menu, but it was a lot of game birds, fish, and pork … all of which Shiima dislikes or doesn’t eat in the case of pork. So I earmarked Rok for a solo excursion. But it never made it to the top of my solo excursion list of restaurants. A couple weeks ago though, we went to Taste of London Festive Edition and the best dish I had was Rok’s duck breast Taste Exclusive. Rok shot right to the top of the list.
Last Saturday, Shiima had plans with her friends so it was time to dine solo. Rok has two restaurants. Shoreditch and Islington. I opted for Shoreditch. I booked for early evening, 5:45PM, and when I arrived (on time), there was only one other person in there and she was eating alone as well lol. Rok’s décor is incredibly minimalist, wooden tables and stools in what seems like a reclaimed pub. The service is very friendly and relaxed. As a side note, they all seemed to enjoy each other’s company. The focus in Rok is evidently the food. So on to the food.
What I ordered
It’s a one-page menu and every dish seems intriguing. For starters, I chose Scallop in the shell with ndjua & seaweed, and Hake Croquettes. I had two mains… oh yes lol. Mallard with cep & chanterelles, and Guinea Fowl with Parsnip, pumpkin & pepperoni puree.
The menu is constantly changing, so chances are some of these dishes won’t be on the menu you eat there. I actually had to call them because I couldn’t remember the fish in the croquettes and my menu wasn’t anywhere online. They were just as pleasant and helpful over the phone as they were in person.
Review of the food
I loved the scallops and the combination of the spicy ndjua and seaweed was amazing – reminded me of efo riro, one of my favourite Nigerian delicacies. The scallop itself was delicious and perfectly cooked. The Hake croquettes were really good too. The hake filling was cooked with béchamel sauce, which made it utterly rich and creamy.
The Guinea Fowl tasted like well-grilled chicken, which is more than good enough for me. But then mixed with the pepperoni puree, it becomes uniquely delicious.
Mallard is duck, and if you’ve read much of our previous blogs, especially our review of City Social, you’d know I’m not a big fan of duck breast, primarily because of how it’s usually cooked. There was duck breast in this dish and it was pink, but it was delicious. The mushrooms were really nice too. I usually just eat the vegetables in these dishes because you know, they are good for you and all, but I really enjoyed these mushrooms.
Of course I was going to have dessert. Although I probably was full, I didn’t let it stop me. I had hazelnut ice cream with coffee marshmallow, chocolate sauce and black rice crumbs. I hate marshmallows and I don’t drink coffee, but the coffee marshmallows were a revelation. The chocolate sauce as well… damn was it nice. Every element of the dessert was delicious and complimentary.
I loved Rok. Every dish I had was really good and the staff was really attentive and fun to be around. In truth there isn’t much to say about the décor. It is what it is. But you ought not be going to Rok for décor. “It’s the food, stupid.” It’s also very fairly priced as well. I recommend primarily for foodies, casual dates, and groups (up to about 8 people I’d say).
Cuisine: Scandinavian Barbeque
Dress Code: Casual
Amen’s Star Dish: Scallop in the shell with ndjua & seaweed
Price: £25+ (excluding alcohol)
Rating: 4.9 out of 5
26 Curtain Road
Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3NY
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