Japanese restaurant Roka to open its doors in Saudi Arabia this July

The award-winning Japanese restaurant will offer its famous robata-style food in Riyadh

Roka, the award-winning Japanese restaurant, is set to open in Saudi Arabia this month.

On July 27, the new Roka Riyadh will throw open its doors, offering customers its famous robatayaki, or robata-style food.

Situated in the new development at Tahlia Gate, the restaurant promises a "unique urban design", featuring wooden counters, antique timbers and authentic Japanese rice paper walls.

In addition, it will have an outside terrace, landscaped to offer customers “a rare oasis in the midst of the city.”

It will be open daily, from 6.30pm until 11pm, although the menu has not yet been revealed.

The restaurant will offer the intriguing flavours and exquisite presentation that has made it popular worldwide. It might even offer the seasonal and premium tasting menus that have proved so popular in Dubai. A recent menu, launched to celebrate its one year anniversary in the UAE, offered gindara to kani no gyoza (king crab, black cod and prawn dumpling with roasted chilli dressing), and age nasu no goma-ae (warm aubergine with sesame miso and smoked skipjack tuna), for example.

Founded in 2004 on Charlotte Street in Central London, the Roka concept is inspired by the traditional method used by fishermen in northern Japan, to cook fish over charcoal while out at sea. Called robatayaki, it uses a robata grill that imparts the signature flavour. Created to be communal, the fishermen would cook with different charcoals on their own boats, before sharing with other boats, passing the food over on their oars.

A little sister to Zuma, Roka is the brainchild of the same team, chef Rainer Becker and entrepreneur Arjun Waney, who is also behind La Petite Maison (now LPM Restaurant & Bar), Coya, Peyote, Oblix, Il Baretto.

Its name is derived from the Japanese words "ro", meaning to share with friends, and "ka", meaning heat and energy.

Since launching, Roka has opened an additional four locations across London, before expanding to Dubai, and its first international branch, situated in the Opus building. There is also a Roka on the Spanish island of Mallorca.

Updated: July 19th 2021, 9:29 AM
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