Poke bars have been all the rage in the last few years with numerous casual versions opening in the West End. However, very few offer a premium experience; the one that really stands out is Black Roe in Mayfair. That was hardly going to be a surprise given that the team behind the restaurant is none other than restauranteur, Kurt Zdesar, who owns Chotto Matte in Soho and Fucina in Marylebone.
It is situated in a quiet side street between Maddox Street and Conduit Street. The decor has a suitably moody, quirky vibe with giant portraits hanging on the walls and distressed luxury furniture. The jewel in the crown which is bringing the punters in is the attractive poke bar at the front of the restaurant with an exciting array of raw fish, crustaceans and oysters.
We started with their signature dish the “black roe” ahi and yellowtail poke and also the salmon poke. The dishes were exquisitely presented complete with edible flowers and lotus root crisp. The fish was ultra-fresh and also contained punchy flavours with the spicy yuzu salsa, which really helped to get the gastric juices going.
Edible flowers must be popular with the head chef as it made a reappearance in the beef fillet tataki and grilled scallops. This was my second visit to this restaurant and it was an improved experience, as I thought the first time, the dishes were overly citrusy. The beef fillet was flavoursome with the salsa picante, but it didn’t feel like it was going to burn a hole in my stomach and the thinly sliced meat was extremely well-sourced. The same could be said of their scallops and interestingly it came with a vibrant mango salsa and black quinoa.
It’s unsurprising that the whole lobster mac ‘n’ cheese is the most popular dish here. It’s a showstopper with the whole lobster served with mouthwatering cheese on top. The lobster meat was sturdy and fresh and the cheese provided the perfect foil to add extra flavours to the dish. Even a typically uninspiring dish like bbq pepper chicken had exotic notes with the chipotle miso and avocado salsa. Dishes here are attractively presented and taste equally divine.
If you still need more reasons to convince you to visit this Pacific Rim-influenced restaurant, then try their express poke lunch which is only £18 per person and includes a large poke salad and a dessert.