Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Roka holds celebration for Macau debut

Posted by Kimberly on November 3, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
November 3, 2007, page 4 (525 words)

Roka held a cocktail night at their Venetian Macao premises last night to allow for a proper introduction to Macau’s culinary conscious.
The restaurant’s contemporary Japanese Robata Grill was centre stage, literally, providing guests with a means of sampling the extensive menu in finger-food portions.
“We’d already opened the restaurant but we were trying to wait for the right time to have this gathering,” said Managing Director Marc Bratland, adding that” when the Venetian opened, there were a lot of cocktail parties happening, so we wanted to give ourselves some time.”
With the original concept having been born in London, Roka Macau is the first outside of the United Kingdom and the sister of Zuma, located in Hong Kong and London. Both were created by award-winning chef and co-founder Rainer Becker and the Waney family.
Situated within the vicinity of the Venetian’s “high roller” section of the main gaming floor, Roka 11,000 square foot restaurant also contains a concept bar adjacent to the Robata Grill, itself surrounded by counter seating, offset by minimalist stone, wood, glass and earth designed by Japanese interior designer Noriyoshi Muramatsu.
Roka attempts to take the usual Japanese dining experience beyond sashimi, sushi and tempura., making it “authentic but not traditional.”
The restaurant’s unique location allows for access to the Venetian’s gondolas and outdoor seating that takes advantage of the Venetian Canal waterfront view.
“Since we’ve been open, we’ve seen different types of people come in. We didn’t want to be stiff as we’ serve a high quality product in a casual atmosphere,” said Mr Bratland.
He stressed that “casual does not mean low quality, it means friendly, warm and inviting and a very enjoyable atmosphere.
“However, high quality doesn’t mean stiff. Maybe in Hong Kong and Asia in general, to get a high quality product you must go to a hotel or fine dining restaurant which almost inevitably I think the service is very stiff but we’re trying to do something a little bit different there,” he said.
He added that the Venetian was seen as an opportunity. We looked at the company that’s behind the Venetian and they’ve been pretty successful with what they’ve been trying to do here in Macau, really develop the MICE market, make the Venetian in Macau really the centre of function business so that’s quite an aggressive target.”
Yet he said that they understood it would take some time for the market to develop as “you don’t  expect to swing your doors open and have thousands of people come rushing in” and that it was all about “putting things in perspective and taking a long term approach.”
Roka’s restaurant area caters to 235 people while its bar seats 40. Six private dining rooms are also on offer with one VIP room and another private room adjacent to the Grill allowing diners a full view. Two of the rooms have their own wine cellars while a walk-in wine cellar stands adjacent to the bar.
Roka will be extending its brand to Scottsdale, Arizona  later this year, while Zuma will open in Istanbul by the end of the year and in Dubai spring of 2008.

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