Situated on North Audley Street, Roka Mayfair is the latest restaurant from chef Rainer Becker, the creator and founder of Zuma and Oblix at The Shard.
The restaurant, with its showcase Robata Cooking Station situated right in the centre of the Restaurant, serves up a delicious selection of Japanese Robatayaki cuisine – slow grilled skewer cooking – and is already proving extremely popular since opening its doors in March 2014.
Roka Mayfair is the third restaurant to open under the Roka name, following successful openings in Charlotte Street and Canary Wharf. A fourth site is located in Pacific Place, Hong Kong. Roka Mayfair replaces a former Italian restaurant housed on North Audley Street and features a stunning design overseen by project management and implementation consultancy, CW Consulting.
Founded in 2005, CW Consulting provides a full management advice service on a range of projects, taking schemes from the feasibility stage all the way through to practical completion and operation. CW Consulting has vast experience working on leading projects within the hospitality sector and has previously provided services on Rainer Becker’s showcase project, Oblix at The Shard.
Keen to find out more about this latest Roka restaurant Premier Hospitality caught up with CW Consulting owner, Chris Wall, to discover what it takes to launch a new restaurant in Mayfair.
“Until the opening of Roka Mayfair there had only been two Roka venues in London, the first on Charlotte Street and the second in Canary Wharf, and these had been open for a few years now, so the owners were looking to open up a third site in another prime location within the city. I had worked as the Project Manager and Quantity Surveyor on Oblix at The Shard, which had been a very successful project, so the client approached me about overseeing this latest venue with a view to completing another great restaurant in a prime location.
“With such a fantastic position in Mayfair this had to be a fast track project, with a very quick turnaround time. As soon as a deal was made for the site, which was in May 2013, we were given the go ahead for strip out works and structural alterations to get underway in September. This meant we needed planning permission and sign off within four months, when usually it would take anywhere between six and eight months, so we had to get going as soon as possible.
“With such a short turnaround our client had to know exactly what he wanted; we had to get the design right first time and we needed to get the right contractor on the project straight away. We required a design which could be constructed from day one, so it all had to come together at once and quickly.”
Phelans Construction Ltd was the main contractor on Roka Mayfair. Phelan Construction Ltd conducts an array of construction, refurbishment and fit-out projects, offering a responsive and competitive service to meet its clients’ needs.
“Phelans joined us on this project, once again following the success of Oblix at The Shard. We were on site through to early February, before the venue was handed over for a three-week period so staff training and a soft opening could take place.”
An instantly noticeable feature of Roka Mayfair is its interior design which brings an industrial feel to its surroundings. The design incorporates an intriguing mix of materials, from a concrete floor and timber wall panels to raw steel and an open timber-slatted ceiling.
“The best way to describe the interior design is that it has a raw, ‘industrial’ type feel about it yet the materials used do have a superior quality to them and I think this works well as it really compliments the food. The designer on this project is Studio Glitt, who is based in Tokyo, so the design concept and specifications were based on the idea that this restaurant would be built in Tokyo. Therefore I had to find the materials and translate the construction process for a UK-build. This was quite challenging, however, because I had a contractor like Phelan on board we were able to move forward quickly by making use of their supply chain to find the right materials.”
With such an iconic location as Mayfair, it is understandable that Roka has already become the talk of the city. Not only is the design a true highlight, but the food is of the high standard one would expect from such a high calibre chef as Rainer Becker.
“Our client has been extremely happy and the feedback so far has been fantastic – the food is also outstanding. This is what I would class as a Grade A project and I am extremely pleased to have been involved in this latest restaurant under the Roka name. The location is great to have on the portfolio, but it is really the client who has been key to this project.
“Once we had the go ahead we were given a great deal of trust to take this scheme forward, allowing us to do our job to the best of our ability. Taking on another job from the same client demonstrates a measure of success and trust and that is why I was more than happy to work on this restaurant.”
For more information about Roka restaurants, please visit: www.rokarestaurant.com.
Summit Design Ltd
Summit Design Ltd specialise in the design, supply and installation of mechanical services, including kitchen extract, fresh air ventilation & extract systems, air conditioning and heating. The company was founded in 1993 and within this time has worked on many prestigious projects, including Oblix at the Shard, Coya in Piccadilly, Dover Street Arts Club, Dirty Burger and a number of restaurants for Gordon Ramsay.
Working on Roka Mayfair, Summit Design Ltd was responsible for the installation of all mechanical and electrical services, which included the design and installation of air conditioning, ventilation and electrical systems. Summit Design Ltd was also responsible for the design and installation of plumbing on the site.
Summit Design Ltd Contract Manager, Terry Winters, said:
“Roka Mayfair looks fantastic, so it is great that our work has helped to compliment the restaurant’s interior design, plus, we have history with the site, having worked on the building when it existed in a previous form.”
“At Summit Design Ltd we always plan to exceed our clients’ requirements. We design an energy efficient system which is intended to continue working even when the filters are slightly challenged. Whatever our client asks for we pride ourselves on delivering them that little bit extra.”
Dawson Design Projects
Dawson Design Projects specialise in the design and supply of catering equipment for the commercial sector, working on a range of schemes, from restaurants and bars to education facilities.
The company works on many high-end projects, with a significant amount of work taking place within the independent restaurant sector. The experts at Dawson Design Projects have been working in the industry for more than 20 years and within this time have worked on a wide range of projects, including Midsummer House, The Dorchester and a large number of independent restaurants.
Working on Roka Mayfair, Dawson Design Projects revamped the site’s existing kitchen, installed new fabrication in the back of house and manufactured the large feature robata counter and the bar.
Dawson Design Projects owner, Reg Dawson, said:
“This was an exciting project to be involved with and has resulted in us working with Roka in their Canary Wharf restaurant.”
“At Dawson Design Projects we are proud of our ability to listen to and understand the client’s requirements and Roka Mayfair is a good example of what can be achieved.”
Established in 1980, Metro Ltd is a specialist bespoke lighting manufacturer. The company manufactures and supplies all aspects of lighting to hotels, restaurants and associated business’s and has recently been involved in the Roka Mayfair project.
Cary Nelson, Metro Ltd, said:
“We were pleased when Mr. C. Wall approached us to manufacture Roka’s bespoke free standing ‘wobbly cube’ luminaire. The special requests for Metro to try and achieve the special finishes and use an imported Japanese paper for the light diffuser were extremely challenging but we were up to the task.
“The special rustic raw blackened steel metalwork along with the illuminated Japanese Paper, when seen in situation at the Roka Mayfair, was amazing and I am informed they look even better of a night time. We look forward to working with Chris and his team & Roka Restaurants again in the future.”
Clay Oven Company
The Clay Oven Company specialises in manufacturing bespoke front of house catering equipment. The company designs and fabricates key equipment for the hospitality industry and has worked on many prestigious projects over the past 40 years.
Recent projects for Clay Oven Company include the design and fabrication of the unique Robata at Kurt Zdesar’s Chotto Matte in Soho; the floating skewer theatre grill and bread oven with 1.2m viewing window at Dubai’s Chamas Restaurant in the Crowne Plaza on the Sheikh Zayed Rd; and the Asado Grill for Ben Tish’s Ember Yard. Additional projects include the Chicken Rotisserie for Soho House Group’s Chicken Shop; Neil Rankin’s Robata Flame Grill at Smokehouse in Islington; and the grill and bread oven at Oblix in The Shard.
Clay Oven Company Director, Levon Guilan, said:
“My father Anthony Gulian established the company in 1974. With over 40 years experience, we understand the competitive nature of the restaurant business and constantly evolve our cooking equipment to help give our clients a competitive advantage. From our tandoori ovens, to our clay domed pizza ovens and bespoke speciality grills, our products have helped develop theatre cooking, re-defining the front of house dining experience.
“Our products can be customised to clients’ requirements in size, finish and even format. Our award-wining design team thrive on the challenge of creating unique products that help our clients stand out from the crowd.”
Working on Roka Mayfair, Clay Oven Company fabricated the restaurant’s Island Robata.
“We have worked closely with Rainer Becker since the opening of ZUMA Knightsbridge back in 2002, and are very honoured to have had the pleasure of working together on many other restaurants since. I believe what makes this latest Roka in Mayfair particularly exciting and important to us is that after all the years manufacturing the iconic Island Robata at Roka Charlotte Street, it is still this design that continues to captivate and pleasure those that visit the restaurant.”
Hillcross Furniture specialise in the supply and manufacture of contract furniture for the hospitality and leisure sector. The company has been in operation for 14 years and within this time has worked on many prestigious projects including Disney Cruise ships, Galvin Restaurants and schemes for Hilton hotels.
Working on Roka Mayfair Hillcross Furniture supplied and manufactured all of the venue’s tables and chairs.
Hillcross Furniture Managing Director, Richard Barker, said:
“This project was very important to us. We understand the level of detail involved in each Roka restaurant, so to be involved in the process is just fantastic.
“At Hillcross Furniture we pride ourselves on being a North East-based manufacturing company which gets to work on such high profile schemes in the UK and across the world. We continue to grow and working on high-end projects such as Roka Mayfair allows us to keep improving our standards.”
Sound Environment is a custom install company, specialising in the design and supply of audio and visual equipment, including entertainment, security and CCTV systems. Sound Environment integrates all systems into residential and commercial homes and has done for the past 14 years.
Working in the industry, Sound Environment has provided services to many larger scale housing developments, along with ski chalets, restaurants and public houses.
Working on Roka Mayfair, Sound Environment supplied the restaurant with its sound system, installing speakers and a control system, which allows the user to isolate certain areas of the restaurant when required. The state-of-the-art system allows music to be contained to different zones or opened up to the whole restaurant and music can also be streamed from a smart phone through the sound system.
Sound Environment Operations Director, Carmen Greenway, said:
“We are used to working on residential projects so our involvement with Roka Mayfair gave us a great opportunity which allowed us to showcase what we can do for a large group of people. Seeing and hearing our music play out to 60 or 70 people at a time is fantastic.”