Food is the Ingredient that Binds us Together
A Richmond institution, Rock & Rose
Review by Andy Barnham
Describing itself as Richmond’s sexy chic dining spot and cocktail bar, Rock & Rose is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The quirky decor of statues, statuettes and flowers everywhere – flowers on the tables, flowers on the wall paper, flowers on the cushions (roses all) – overly heavy and busy to this reviewer, has definitely garnered it’s fair share of fans over the years as seen by the reviews on Google and Open Table. Consisting of bar, main dining room, Garden Room, the ‘Funky Room’ and terrace at the front of the restaurant, Rock & Rose definitely has a lot to offer diners and situated in Richmond is a good option for those seeking to escape the heat and bustle of central London.
Alongside a standard grill and steak section, the main feature of Rock & Rose is their international cuisine which is served with an Asian twist. Starters and sharing plates include Chinese inspired dishes such as Crispy Pork Belly served with Black Soy Vinegar side by side with Vietnamese (Chicken San Choy Bau served with Lettuce Wrap and Toasted Peanuts) Japanese (Seared Tuna Sashimi with Pickeld Ginger, Wasabi and Ponzu) and Middle Eastern (the Med Platter mixes Baba Ghanoush, Hummus and Pitta with Baked Feta, Falafel and Chargrilled Vegetables). All full of flavour it’s hard to choose a favourite, though the Honey Glazed Chicken Wings are as the name suggest on the sweet side.
The House Specials carry on this theme with a Lamb Shank Massaman, slow cooked with Malaysian Spices, Teriyaki Chicken and Monkfish and Tiger Prawn Curry but to name a few dishes. Unlike the starters, the mains are a bit more hit and miss; both the lamb dishes (the Lamb Shank Massaman and the Herb Crusted Lamb Rump with Jersey Royal and Wilted Spinach i.e. no Asian twist here) are fantastic, while the Miso Cod Fillet is slightly bland, though personally this isn’t too much of a surprise when I believe Miso soup to be fairly bland in the first place.
Celebrating the English summer, Rock & Rose has also created half a dozen seasonal cocktails to accompany the old classics. These are to be avoided. Don’t go past Go! Go straight to the tried and trusted cocktails on Rock & Rose’s menu. The seasonal cocktails are as wishy washy as they sound; their only redeeming factor is their full fruit appearance should you wish to share on Instastupid.
Like the starters, Rock & Rose offers individual desserts or platters to share. These definitely makes for a communal and party atmosphere at dinner, an atmosphere Rock & Rose is keen to promote with both the Garden and the Funky Rooms available for private hire. With spoons flying in from all directions, The Vanilla Crème Brûlée was rather anonymous while the Cheesecake was lovely but just pipped to the dessert of choice by the Sticky Toffee Pudding (just don’t forget to add the toffee sauce that comes separate). Alongside these traditional desserts the Mango sorbet, the only ’summer’ element of the platter, while tasty did seem oddly out of place.
So is Rock & Rose worth a visit? Well, it’s hard to argue with 10 years of history. Should online reviews be trusted, and hopefully there are one or two floating on the internet which can be depended on, you’ll definitely have a memorable night. Asian fusion food – or even a party atmosphere – isn’t for everyone so, like Marmite, you’ll only find out if you become a return customer if you give it a go.
Enquiries: Rock & Rose, 106 – 108 Kew Road, Richmond TW9 2PQ / 0208 9488008 / www.rockandroserestaurant.com/