Around five years ago, Dad had taken Mum, Z, and I, on a lovely two week family trip to Hawaii. It was one of the best holidays I had been on, and I still cannot thank Dad enough for putting up with me for the 18 hours (with a stopover!) plane journey on the way there! Whilst Dad had planned all the hotels and activities, I was in charge of the food, and made sure we had a little taster of everything Hawaii has to offer. From freshly baked blueberry cream scones to garlic butter shrimps on the roadside, we ate eveeerrrything, and I always reminisce about how great the food was.
A couple of weeks ago, a wave of holiday nostalgia washed over me, and I was determined to find some good quality Hawaiian food. Naturally, a Hawaiian restaurant is quite rare to come across, and it has only been this year that a few have started to pop up in London. Of course, even rarer is to find one of these restaurants that offer halal, and it was a delight to find that Black Roe (a Hawaiian-Japanese hybrid) serve halal when requested in advance.
Black Roe has that Mayfair feel to it; chic, cool, and sexy, the three things I’m definitely not, but nevertheless, I didn’t feel out of place. We were seated at a cosy little booth and got ordering.
I am definitely happy with how this photo turned out because my drink photos are normally terrible! A refreshing mocktail made using pineapple, raspberry, and lemon!
Poke (pronounced po-kay) is a Hawaiian specialty using fresh, raw, cubed fish, rice, and a few additional toppings (soy sauce, sesame seeds etc.) – imagine an deconstructed sushi roll. A simple yet comforting dish that is also healthy! This bowl was so aesthetically pleasing that I considered putting it in my handbag and taking it home. The ahi tuna had a lovely rich crimson colour with a velvety feel, whilst the yellowtail was light pink and firmer, with a mild taste to it. Both had been doused in a zingy, citrusy yuzu salsa and served with sticky rice, sesame seeds, and a pretty little flower!
Just like the signature poke, this was really, really good and came with all the trimmings plus a tangy and spicy garlic salsa, which complemented the yellowtail very well.
My favourite of the evening. Deliciously juicy and tender lamb cutlets that had been cooked on the grill to give a lovely smokey flavour. The pink meat just melted in your mouth and the accompanying piquito reduction gave your tastebuds a lovely tang and slight heat.
Meaty fillets of blackened sea bass served with a chunky pineapple salsa on top. The fish was cooked great, flaky without becoming a mush, but I really needed that garlicky, spicy, salty taste that you usually get from cajun flavouring. The accompanying salsa was sweet with a good sharpness from the lime juice and onions, but did not add much to the fish.
Chubby asparagus spears that had been dipped in tempura batter and fried till golden. They were served with a coriander salsa and a pungent truffle aioli. The crispy asparagus contrasted well with the creamy aioli, and I definitely ate more than my fair share of this tempura.
Humongous, whole prawns (with all the bits!) deep-fried to a lovely crisp. These too were served with a coriander salsa and truffle aioli for dipping, but surprisingly weren’t my favourite as I felt they could have done with a little more flavour.
Crispy, garlic fries served with a zingy, yuzu mayo for dipping. Nothing out of the ordinary, but were enjoyable.
The total bill amounted to £135 for 4 people, including drinks and service, so approximately £34 each. Not too bad for a place like Black Roe, especially considering that they’re based in Mayfair. I enjoyed most of the food, especially the lamb chops and the poke bowls, and would return just to eat their fish offerings. Perhaps we could have done with one more dish, and I would have been completely satisfied, but the boys left the restaurant still feeling hungry.
The service was pretty up and down. Although confirming 3 times over the phone that they would provide halal beef, lamb, and chicken to us on the night, we turned up to be told that they could only give us lamb; I guess that’s better than nothing. And whilst the food came out fairly quick, asking a member of staff for a menu seemed to take forever. One waitress even disappeared when I had asked her a question, and never came back!
,All in all, I enjoyed my evening there and cannot wait to revisit in order to try the rest of the menu. It is also worth noting that they have a downstairs where they can accommodate up to 20 people at the chef’s table – cool idea for a birthday!