Although a ‘robata’ typically refers to a charcoal grill used to prepare Japanese food, Soho’s Robata proves to be so much more than their namesake.
It’s a busy little spot, which on a Thursday night was so packed, you’d be hard-pressed to nab a table without having booked ahead. In fact we ended up joining in with a ‘Happy Birthday’ sing-a-long – twice. We were sat towards the back of the restaurant which gave us a good view of the open kitchen, with tables quite intimately placed together (this is not the place to discuss top-secret business!).
Having braved a torrential downpour to get here, we needed some lubrication. Enter, the cocktail list which has been given a Japanese twist. Old classics such as the mojito, include sake and jasmine syrup alongside the obligatory lime juice and mint leaves. Of course, there’s also straight-up sake if that floats your boat, plus a few wines by the glass.
Dishes are well priced and all served sharing style, so you’ll get to try a good selection over the course of your evening. As mentioned, there’s more to the menu than grilled dishes, including an inventive sushi section, as well as skewers and bao buns.
We’d suggest kicking off with a spicy tuna roll with chilli mayo, avocado and jalapeno puree as well as their signature prawn tempura roll with fish roe, wasabi mayo & eel glaze – you’ll get 8 pieces of each. A bowl of Japanese fried chicken, or to give it its proper name, karaage, is always a good idea, however, we were really into Robata’s version which uses juicy thigh meat and comes with a gochujang mayo – yum!
From the skewers section you’ll definitely want to try the iberico pluma with black pepper miso which we finish in two delicious bites – however, do note the price is for just one skewer (minimum 2 pieces). Larger plates include the black cod – a sweet and sticky specimen which comes wrapped in a leaf with a side of pickled cucumber and spicy miso. Less successful for us was the truffle fries which didn’t quite deliver on flavour and were quite pricey at £8 a bowl.
Effortlessly combining authentic Japanese flavours with a tapas dining style, we’d recommend ordering a few plates as you go, to avoid the bill creeping up. However, with such an extensive offer, there really is something here to appeal to everyone – which makes it a pretty perfect post-work dinner spot.