Where We Are Going Today: Tamees 09 restaurant

Roka is a dining spot tucked away in a corner of one of Al-Sulaimaniya District’s vibrant plazas in the capital. Now, they are kicking their already unique dining experience up a notch with a new “Entertainment Nights” concept.

Every Thursday from 8 to 11 p.m. at Roka, guests can enjoy a flavorful dinner paired with live DJs and percussion.

You can tempt your taste buds with one of their signature drinks, or their limited-edition beverages for special occasions such as Saudi National Day and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

On Valentine’s Day, while experiencing the mixes of DJ Basslaw, the joint offered a delectable base of raspberry juice and shiso botanical tea topped with raspberry foam and a raspberry powder rim. The berry concoction bursts with a sweet-and-sour candy-like tang.

Their drinks menu offers an array of non-alcoholic cocktails and flavors native to Japan, like their white lotus that fuses yuzu, strawberries, dragon fruit, lychee and pineapple.

Our starters were a crispy prawn, avocado, and sweet dark soy roll and a salmon, avocado and asparagus roll with wasabi tobiko mayonnaise. The balance of umami paired wonderfully with one of their signature salads, a lettuce-based dish drizzled with caramelized onion dressing, which exemplifies the power of culinary simplicity. The salad is served unconventionally in slices, making it easier to bite into with chopsticks.

Their steamed beef, ginger, and sesame dumpling with black pepper vinegar sauce is another simple and light perfectly-cooked dish with a great kick. The dish pairs nicely with thinly sliced pickles, adding a certain complexity to the mix.

Roka offers a number of unique mains hailing from their Robata station, one of their three main kitchens along with their Sushi and Hotline kitchens. They are popular for their lamb cutlet with Korean spices and black cod marinated in yuzu miso.

A recommended dish is their signature and undeniably tender beef fillet with chilli, ginger and spring onion, an amazing dish that could either be muted or amplified in flavor depending on your preferred ratio of sauce. The steak goes well with their Roka baked potato in yuzu cream and chives which brings a creamy flavor with a bit of crunch.

In addition to the main menu, you can explore a plethora of unique plates from their seasonal, premium, and signature offerings. The sleek and trendy joint also hosts Izakaya Nights, a weekly event with new dishes and exclusive flavors for casual bar bites such as panko ebi kushiyaki and black cod krokke, along with live music.

On Saturdays, you can enjoy a live station brunch from 1 p.m., featuring a packed buffet and drinks. As Ramadan approaches, the restaurant will be serving an iftar menu priced at SR195 per person ($59), from March 10 to April 9.

Roka is a great spot to indulge in Japanese flavors, altered slightly to fit Middle Eastern palettes. Perfect for date nights or group gatherings, the restaurant is full of opportunities to nourish your taste buds, from the first bite to the last. With their friendly and memorable service, they will definitely have you coming back for more.

For updates and more information, check their Instagram @rokarestaurant.ksa.

 

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