When we rang the bell outside Roji’s nondescript door, we weren’t expecting one of the best sushi experiences in London. But the 10-seater omakase restaurant in Mayfair is one of those rare spots that strikes the perfect balance between serious and relaxed. A meal here is one to save for an important anniversary, a big job promotion, or if we had nine friends who had £150 to drop on dinner, we’d save it for an epic, blowout dinner party that no one would forget. Because from start to finish, Roji is the kind of special place that comes to mind when we get the inevitable “what is your favourite restaurant in London?” question. (Which, by the way, happens a lot.)
Inside, it’s an intimate setup and the wooden wrap-around counter seating gives you a front-row seat to the open kitchen. It’s comfortable enough that you won’t feel like you’re encroaching on your neighbour’s conversation, and they won’t hear the details of that awkward run-in with your ex. But it’s cosy enough that you could nod knowingly at the person across the counter after hearing them say that the otoro temaki was their favourite too. Anticipation builds during the quiet chatter between the light lobster broth course and tender arctic char, after the chef’s detailed descriptions and razor-thin slicing of hamachi, and when hearing the satisfied sounds of the other people being served before you.
Everything is done in such a calm and subtle way that we didn’t even notice the pre-meal dashi jelly gently being placed in front of us, until we saw the other guests downing shots of the ikura-filled appetiser. From the first seasonal dish of the evening to the eight rounds of nigiri, it quickly became clear just how excellent the quality of the fish is here. There isn’t a single dud on the menu, with excellent ingredients—like locally-sourced sea urchin and fresh buckwheat noodles—put together with the same care and attention to detail as a perfectionist mother-in-law inspecting your dusting. Whether it’s a light and delicate scallop wrapped in seaweed, or a rich lobster broth with plenty of umami, dishes impress and satisfy. Paired with the peaceful, intimate counter experience and stunning handmade ceramic plates, it's worth the £150 price tag.
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One of those rare omakase situations where you wouldn’t want anything done differently. You’re served bite after bite of perfectly executed dishes. The menu usually begins with a melt-in-the-mouth cut of sashimi—this could be lean tuna in a creamy egg yolk or squid with ponzu jelly. It’s followed by a number of excellent fish-focused plates, like a refreshing crab salad with summer vegetables, or a tender piece of Dorset arctic char with earthy mushroom. Then comes an eight-course nigiri omakase. Watch paper-thin slices of top-quality raw fish being dabbed lightly with wasabi, topped with a ball of warm vinegared rice, and delicately swiped with soy sauce, before landing in front of you. You’ll likely enter a sushi trance by the last piece of o-toro.