Sakura season is upon us and what better way to celebrate the floral escapade than at ROKA’s Shochu lounge. The sultry basement bar has been swept with a beautifully crafted cherry blossom canopy and is serving matching cocktails in awe of one of the prettiest seasons.
There are three cocktails that have been specifically curated for this time of year. The first is the bartenders own invention, the Sakura Sour. A vibrant concoction comprising cherry and almond notes, plum sake and Icelandic potato vodka. It’s a wonderfully tart and refreshing cocktail.
Next up, the Morello Fizz which certainly packs a punch. Of course, cherry notes are prominent, this time accompanied by Roku Japanese gin and a sweet vermouth.
We couldn’t have paid a visit to our fave spot without sampling some small plates alongside the blooming cocktails. The Yellowtail Sashimi drizzled in an innocuous yuzu truffle dressing, and the seared beef (Gyu No Tataki To Truffle) doused in a comparable ponzu truffle dressing are the eldest and most popular dishes on the menu.
A Cherry & Tonka Manhattan makes up the third and final cocktail celebrating the Sakura season. Japanese whisky, sherry and a spanish fine wine; Visciolata are married with sobacha (buckwheat tea) and tonka syrup.
Our attentive waiter swings by with more classic Roka dishes. We sample the Tempura shrimp; straight from Panama bay, soft shell crab maki rolls with chilli mayo, seared Californian scallops with wasabi mayo and last but by no means least, the spicy lamb cutlets served with sesame coated cucumber.
All to be washed down at the end with a tumbler of Shochu, the basements namesake and a popular digestif in Japanese culture. Traditionally made from rice, the tipple can also be distilled from sweet potato and barley. We sampled from the Jasmin and Robata pineapple bottles.
The Sakura installation will be gracing the ceiling of the Shochu lounge until 20th June. To book a table visit www.rokarestaurant.com/reservations
37 Charlotte St