LS review – RÖK Islington

Oct 4, 2018 by

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Editorial rating 4/5


Adress: 149 Upper St, London, N1 1RA

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 17:30-22:30

Sat 10-22:30
Sun 10-21:30

Price: starters from £5, mains from £16



Founded in 2015 by co-founders Charles Bakker, Frida Lindmark and executive chef Matt Young.  Matt is previously of Barnyard and Aveqia. Since 2015 they have opened two restaurants, the original Shoreditch restaurant and second one on a busy high street in Islington. Very recently (october 2018) they announced that their original restaurant will close its doors by the end of 2018. So all eyes on Islington! At Rök you will enjoy food cooked using open wood fired grills, as well as a strong focus on preservation techniques such as pickling, fermenting and smoking. They culture their own dairy products and brew their own probiotic drinks whilst sourcing all their meat from small independent farms in the north of England and Bedfordshire.     


Our review:

We visited Rök on a Thursday evening  in Islington on the very trendy and busy Upper Street. You would imagine that a place serving Swedish cuisine might not be the most crowded one on a street filled with French and Italian restaurants. But boy were we wrong. Rök was packed and soon we would find out why.


We tried a Feast menu that they had selected for us. As Swedes and lover of Swedish food we were needless to say excited. We also had two Brits with us, they were actually just as excited. The first thing that came in was toasted sourdough with butter and Swedish classic; shrimp spread cheese (räkost), sweet pickled golden beets, sweet pickled purple carrot & anise, salt pickled cabbage and carrot, salt pickled cauliflower. If there was an Oscar for best räkost the chef Matt Young would be the winner, the shrimp spread cheese was something you could have eaten of it’s own with a spoon. The pickled treats felt both classic and innovative.


With a start like that the expectations were high. The starters came in, scallop roasted in the shell with nduja & seaweed, duck pate on Swedish crispbread (knäckebröd) with fermented cloudberries and soused mackerel with pickled onions, creme fraiche and flat bread. One thing you need to put on your bucket list is these scallops. If you haven’t eaten them you haven’t eaten good food. Our taste buds were in heaven. The soused mackerel was also a favorite, so unbelievable sweet and fresh. By this time Rök had made us believers and we were ready to become a missionaries for them but they were not quite done flexing.

The mains were Guinea Fowl with seaweed broth, pickled mushrooms, peas and salami, duck with lingonberry & bacon jam, pork with pickeled pepper och fermented celeriac, Monkfish with crab mayo och sea herbs. The sides were burnt sweet potato with horseradish creme fraiche, charred butternut squash with blue cheese cream and roasted shallots, charred broccoli salad with seeds, almonds & quinoa and blackened courgettes with peanut bulgur wheat and ansjovis dressing. Everything was delicious but the duck and the sides really stood out, especially the burnt sweet potato. Those two alone were perfection.


Lastly it was time for desserts and they treated us to Poor Knight’s bread with cardamom cream and blueberries and 40th pale ale peanut butter ice cream with dark chocolate mousse. Nothing with those desserts were even close to poor. They were rich and lovely.


In conclusion, Frenchies and Italians, scoop over here comes Swedish food. And for all of you wondering where to book your next restaurant visit, book a table at this Swedish haven, Rök, it is by far amongst the best places we’ve eaten. Also, they have really nice drinks and wine.