Review: The Shochu Lounge at ROKA Charlotte Street, London
The Shochu Lounge at ROKA Charlotte Street, this April celebrates the time honoured tradition of Japanese ‘Hanami’, the celebration of Japan’s world famous cherry blossom, which blooms each year between March and early May.
In partnership with Suntory Japanese Whisky, ROKA Charlotte Street has brought a touch of the annual Japanese beauty to London with their fully immersive cherry blossom installation and Sakura-inspired cocktail menu. Yozakura (Hanami at night) is the concept from 1st to 30th April where in the evening guests are able to experience this extravagant cherry blossom installation and the Hibiki Japanese Harmony, reminiscent of this ephemeral season.
Launched in July 2015, ‘Hibiki Japanese Harmony’ is reflective of the harmony between people and nature in Japan. Inspired by the riches and subtleties of the Japanese seasons, Hibiki Japanese Harmony is a meticulous blend of the finest whiskies from the House of Suntory Whisky, incorporating ten malt and grain whiskies, aged in five types of casks, from the three Suntory distilleries.
The evening within a tardis of cherry blossom presented the bespoke Sakura season cocktail menu created exclusively with Hibiki Japanese Harmony. Canapés flew across and around the candy floss foliage created especially for the occasion by ROKA’s Group Executive Chef, Hamish Brown: these included Hokkaido snow crab with tapioca crisp and nori.
Moving the evening up a gear the cocktails were the popularity of the evening. The first, ‘Match a Rack’, was an elegant infusion of matcha-infused Arrack and Hibiki Japanese Harmony, umami spirit and mango cordial, served straight up in a nick-and-nora martini glass. ‘Suntory Blossom’, a short concoction of Hibiki Japanese Harmony, ume sake, blood orange and Sakura tincture. Served in a rock glass with carved ice, garnished with a dry blood orange wheel and Sakura blossom and ‘Happo Harmony’ – a sweet and spicy, refreshing amalgamation of oriental flavours, combining Hibiki Japanese Harmony, rhubarb and ginger syrup, soda water and sprayed lemon flower essence; served in a highball glass with carved ice, garnished with a rhubarb twist.
Insuring no guest to ROKA misses out, a Sakura-inspired cocktail will also be on the menus at ROKA’s three other locations: Aldwych, Canary Wharf and Mayfair, meaning a touch of Japanese Hanami is recognised across London this spring.
ROKA Charlotte Street
Address: 37 Charlotte St, London W1T 1RR
Phone: 020 7580 6464