Japanese Izakaya Roji opens in Lan Kwai Fong alley

Tucked away in an alley alley near the end of the Lan Kwai Fong Strip, Roji – named after the Japanese word rojiura, meaning lane – has opened its doors to offer Japanese cuisine with a touch of French influence. The French side actually comes from the roots of the restaurant’s founder, Agnes Mu, whose French and Taiwanese parents met and lived in Japan, combining the two cuisines for a new take on traditional Japanese izakaya.

We took one for the team (how selfless are we?) And went to see the new location – here’s what we found. Offering fun laid back vibes with light bites and creative cocktails to the beat of old-school RnB, soul and hip hop, Roji feels like the cool hangout and izakaya we’ve been waiting for. While the sadness of losing Brickhouse, one of our favorite Mexican spots in town, is still raw, Roji more than makes up for it with a brighter restaurant filled with tall tables and counters, a sleek bar, and semi-outdoor space with benches. to roost.

Hamachi and scallop

On the food side, the menu has a range of entrees, including small bites, entrees, hot dishes, entrees, desserts, and boxes of rice, all of which cost less than $ 300. Highlights, such as plump cuts of scallop ($ 138) are charred to be smoked and dressed in a rich brown butter sauce, with Japanese asparagus, shiso leaves and dill, while a oily hamachi dish ($ 168) topped with salmon roe and grated bottarga and crispy garlic chips set you up for the meal to come. Rich flavors are balanced with a Bright Tomato Platter ($ 98) that draws on the natural sweetness of beef heart, cherry, and jubilee tomatoes enlivened with a zesty citrus yuzu vinaigrette and pickled onions.

Chicken Katsu

We really enjoyed the A4 Wagyu Beef ($ 298) with white daikon, baby carrots, corn and snow peas in a shiso ponzu sauce, but that’s Roji’s interpretation of crispy fried chicken katsu. ($ 168) which steals the show. The dish uses the thigh for a tender, juicy center of meat wrapped in a golden breadcrumb exterior that’s a must-have order with a sweet and tangy tonkatsu sauce and mustard to cut through the richness. We also got addicted to cartilage ($ 98) and were able to stop popping fried chicken soft bone with yuzu salt in our mouth. The menu also has mini rice pots filled with wagyu ($ 248) or seafood ($ 268) that we didn’t have room for, but we already promised to come back to try it next time.

Box of seafood rice

We washed the food down with classic highballs ($ 95) which are interestingly made up of a bonito infused umeshu, which adds a complex flavorful layer of umami, sherry and whiskey and Miyagiko soda, as well as cocktails created by mixologist Lok Gurung. Their vibrant version of a saketini ($ 125), made with gin, floral akvavit and bergamot carries herbal notes of caraway, dill and lime cucumber, and a fruity Kinome cocktail ($ 120) with vodka, Fernet Hunter and tropical flavors of coconut and citrus, let us sip for more.

Left: Mugi punch, saketini and kinome cocktail | Right: classic highball

As we finish the meal and head to the semi-outdoor patio for a nightcap, hopping on the ’90s tracks that show our age, we realize how much we have missed that feeling. Roji, and his location in the alley, seems to take us away from the weird and wild world and sits us slamming in the middle of a secret location in Shinjuku’s Golden Gai. And if there ever was a time we needed that free and easy feeling, it’s now.

Roji is located at G / F 20A D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Center. For more information about the izakaya, you can check them out on their official website Facebook page.

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About Dawn Valle

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