December 11, 2022

Japanese restaurant Roka to open in Saudi Arabia in July


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

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

Located in the new development of Tahlia Gate, the restaurant promises a “unique urban design”, with wooden counters, antique woodwork and authentic Japanese rice paper walls.

In addition, it will have an outdoor terrace, fitted out to offer customers “a rare oasis in the middle of the city”.

It will be open daily from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., although the menu has not yet been released.

The restaurant will offer the intriguing flavors and exquisite presentation that made it popular around the world. It might even offer the seasonal and premium tasting menus that have proven so popular in Dubai. A recent menu, launched to celebrate its first anniversary in the United Arab Emirates, featured gindara with kani no gyoza (king crab, black cod and shrimp dumpling with roasted chili vinaigrette) and age nasu no goma-ae (hot eggplant with miso with sesame 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 at sea. Called robatayaki, it uses a robata grill which confers the characteristic flavor. Created to be communal, the fishermen cooked with different charcoal on their own boats, before sharing with other boats, passing the food on their oars.

Zuma’s little sister, Roka is the result of the same team, chef Rainer Becker and entrepreneur Arjun Waney, who is also at the origin of 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 its launch, Roka has opened four additional locations in London, before expanding to Dubai, and its first international branch, located in the Opus building. There is also a Roka on the Spanish island of Mallorca.

Updated: July 19, 2021, 9:29 a.m.