Rök, Shoreditch

Rok business card

It’s probably social suicide posting a review of a “freebie” so close to #bloggerblackmail (if you haven’t read up on that then you really should!) but this restaurant was so good I feel I have a duty to tell you about it.

Outside ROK

Rök, a Nordic smokehouse, has just opened on Curtain Road, which isn’t a particularly nice area if I’m being honest – there are always drunken ruffians hanging about the place. Away from that, it’s a cute little spot; all wooden and bare with a tiny open kitchen with just one chef. It’s minimalist, but sexy.

Inside Rok

To start, the Cobble Lane charcuterie selection with toasted sourdough with pickled sauerkraut and fennel (£9.50) was great. The fatty slices of saucisson (I think?) were my favourite.

Charcuterie ROK

Scallop in the shell with nduja (£5) came in the most glorious buttery, spicy sauce – we instantly ordered more bread to soak it up. The scallops were dreamy, with some samphire to add texture. Mussels (£8) probably didn’t need samphire as well, but the Wu Gang Chops the Tree sauce (that’s beer FYI) was incredible.

Scallop ROK

Mussels ROK

There were plenty of meat options for main, and I was surprised to hear all of the meat is water-bathed, then finished off on the grill. My heart sank. But it needn’t have. Duck leg with bacon and lingonberry jam (£16) tasted like it had undergone a far more adventurous route to my plate. The flavour was big and bold and the meat fell off its perfectly trimmed bone.

Duck ROK

I’m a sucker for a lamb chop, just ask Blacklock. The ones here (£16) were thick, yet had perfectly cooked fat that melted away as I sunk my teeth into it. There was also a lamb rib (£16), a notoriously fatty piece of meat, which had such an impressive flavour. Guinea fowl with nduja (£15) was slightly less spectacular, but tasty never-the-less.

Lamb chop ROK

Lamb rib

Guinea fowl ROK

A side of cauliflower cheese topped with beef dust (£5) tasted as good as it sounds – I mean, beef dust?! Then there was a salad of charcoal beetroot with goats cheese and toasted hazelnuts (£4.50). The chunks of beetroot had a charred, wrinkly exterior giving them a moreish texture. The jars of pickles (£2.50 each) made for some refreshing respite from the meat sweats but some of them had a slightly fishy taste to them – very odd.

Cauliflower with beef dust ROK

Beetroot

There was only one choice of pud; wood roasted peach (£6) which was a blend of soft, sticky peach, crunchy almonds and tangy crème fraîche. If you’re only going to offer one dessert then it should be perfect – and it really was.

Wood roasted peach ROK

So yes, you can say I was in the pay of the restaurant if you want. But forget that for a second, and just go and see Rök for yourself. Get a scallop to start and the lamb for main and you’ll leave as happy I did.

4/5

I dined as guest of the restaurant.

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