Arjun Waney and Rainer Becker, co founders of Zuma, approached B3 Designers to work alongside Super Potato’s Norioshi Muramatsu to establish the first Roka restaurant in Charlotte Street, London.
Due to the success of the initial launch, the Roka concept has now expanded to Macau and Hong Kong. Head chef Nicolas Watt’s emphasis being on grilled food, the layout was planned around the robata grill which is positioned in the centre of the restaurant. This is made from Asian granite, surrounded by lengths of waney edged elm which form a table top. The elm was cut down due to Dutch elm disease which gives it its intricate texture.
To the rear of the restaurant, the illuminated Washi wallpaper creates a warm glowing backdrop at night, reflected in the maple dining tables. Echoing the amber glow of the back wall, stacks of traditional Japanese glass jars hold slowly maturing shochu. These are fixed to reclaimed railway sleepers, their rawness contrasting with the fine reflections of the jars.
The ceiling is left bare exposing the ducts and pipes which allows customers to appreciate the inner workings of a building. The open glass shop front and the use of raw, sculptural materials bring together the two elements of the modern Japanese design approach – clean, new materials, coupled with the appreciation of natural beauty.