Places To Eat In London: Oka, Kingly Court
If, like my best friend and I did on Sunday you’re looking to go shopping around Oxford Street, you can’t go wrong by grabbing lunch on Kingly Court, just off Carnaby Street. Some of my favourite eateries including Senor Ceviche, The Good Egg, Rum Kitchen, and Le Bab can be found there, but we fancied something a bit lighter, and well, as she’s just had a baby she’s got lots of sushi eating to catch up on. So we booked a table for lunch at Oka.
Also with locations in Chelsea and Marylebone this branch of Oka is tiny, but it still manages to serve up delicious sushi and small plates, even though it is a little cosy – wedged into our little corner, each time I got up from the table I hit my head on the hanging light fitting, and I’m hardly tall!
We started with a pair of utterly delicious lychee mojitos. Seriously, get these. I think the perfectly crafted restaurant cocktail is what I miss about living in London full time the most!
At the top of the menu there is an Asian-fusion style small plates section before you get onto the more traditional sushi selection. The Yellowtail carpaccio served in a citrus sauce was the best thing we ate at Oka; delicious slithers of fresh fish in a zingy dressing (which went on to eat with my sushi instead of soy sauce it was so good), well balanced with just the right amount of chilli heat and micro coriander on top.
The Salmon Bites – salmon tartare atop rounds of crispy fried rice – were a fun idea and tasted good, but I think the tartare was missing a little something to give it a bit more zing.
Moving onto the sushi proper, we went for four different rolls: the salmon avocado, the jalapeno roll with salmon, avocado, panko and lime mayo, the spicy tuna, and the fried tofu, again served with lime mayo and a bit of kimchee for extra oomph. It was all good sushi, except for there was not much spice in the tuna (they just tasted like regular tuna rolls, I’d have thought they’d got the order mixed up, except they don’t have a regular, non-spicy tuna roll on the menu…) and there was barely any difference between the salmon avocado and the jalapeno roll – again, no discernible heat. However, the crispy tofu was utterly delicious, wonderfully balanced with so many different flavours and textures going on in one bite. Seriously, out of all the sushi get this: I actually think based on what we had, if you’re a vegan, this might be the sushi joint to hit up!
If you’re wondering how much to order for lunch at Oka, I’m a big eater and Sherin is not, but we were both pretty full after this, except we forgot from the robata section we’d ordered the grilled aubergine! Topped with a miso glaze it was wonderfully savoury with a buttery, melting texture, but the way they presented it, especially with the skin intact, and as it came really, really hot, answers on a postcard please how on earth you’re supposed to tackle that with chopsticks!
Oka is by no means perfect, but if you’re craving sushi and you want to be in the heart of the action rather than take a chance on walking into Soho to try and get a table at Eat Tokyo, I can promise you’ll find good sushi, delicious cocktails, and some to die for aubergine – though you might still have to ask for a knife and fork! We certainly had a lovely lunch and would not hesitate to go again, perhaps next time focusing more on the fusion, veggie and hot dishes rather than the traditional raw fish sushi.