I first heard about pokē (pronounced poh-keh) last year when predictions were flying around as to what food trends would be big in 2016. It seems they were right about this one. Pokē is a kind of Hawaiian ceviche, the word itself means “chunk” or “to cut” in Hawaiian so its is essentially thick cubes of raw fish/meat/vegetables marinated in soy and sesame and mixed as a free-form salad. My idea of heaven! Its big in the US, especially in LA and New York and I have been waiting in anticipation for this trend to kick off in the UK and finally it has. Even Pret has been getting in on the action and loads of pokē joints have opened up in central London recently…the most recent being Tombo in Soho and Ahi Poke in Fitzrovia.
Mayfair plays home to Black Roe which opened in March from the guys who run Chotto Matte in Soho. Inside its dark and sleek and filled with lots of glamorous and very beautiful people. The first thing I noticed was how loud the music was, the second was a neon light which says ‘enjoy the silence’. Ironic really!
My friend Tanya and I had already checked out the menu before we got there so we had a good idea of what we wanted to order. Luckily, we have very similar tastes.
First off, we ordered Classic Ahi Poke with roasted sesame soy marinade (£7.95) and the Beef Tataki Poke with the same marinade (£8.95)…
They arrived looking as pretty as a picture, and tasting even better. The tuna was so fresh and deliciously moreish, the beef melted in the mouth.
Next to arrive on our table were the grilled scallops with black quinoa and mango salsa (£14.50)…
Again the dish was presented beautifully and the scallops were big and juicy and perfectly cooked. The flavour of the mango didn’t come through unfortunately and the quinoa seemed an odd partner to the scallops, although it was a pleasant change to see someone trying something different.
We also got a portion of the prawn tempura with a coriander salsa and truffle aioli (£13.50) but my photo didn’t do the dish justice. The tempura was perfectly crisp,the batter was as light as air. It encased large, juicy and sweet prawns and the truffle aioli was heaven. I managed to pick off the (evil) coriander salsa.
For pudding we ordered the chocolate melting cake with vanilla ice cream (£8.50)…a dish that had been highly recommended to me by several friends.
WOW! What a stunning dessert! This hit every spot imaginable.The warm chocolate pudding was slightly crispy on the outside and deliciously soft and gooey on the inside. The contrast of the ice cream resulted in Tanya and I staring at each other with eyes bulging, unable to speak! I don’t mind sharing most things but we both minded having to share this. Next time I go, I’m ordering this for myself. It was utterly glorious. Its worth going to Black Roe for this alone.
I loved Black Roe but I really wish the music could be turned down. I wondered if perhaps I was getting a bit old for a restaurant that felt a little like a club but looking around the restaurant, most people looked older than Tanya and I, and everyone appeared to be shouting across the table at their dinner partners, something that Tanya and I had to do. With the noise of everybody shouting to be heard on top of the music, it did rather affect the evening. Saying that, I will definitely be going back for the food. Fortunately for me, its only a 5 minute walk from my office so I foresee many trips there for my lunchtime fix of pokē, plus I HAVE to have that pudding again.
BlackRoe, 4 Mill Street, London, W1S 2AX
Tel: 020 3794 8448