If you're looking for somewhere warm and convivial to hunker down as the temperature plummets, then somewhere that specialises in cooking over a robata grill should probably be top of your list.
ROBATA opened in the heart of Soho earlier this year and specialises in the longstanding Japanese tradition of charcoal cooking. Back in Japan, this form of cooking was apparently created by fishermen bringing hot coals on to their boats to cook their food as they worked. Happily, Londoners don't have to do a day's hard labour before they can enjoy that type of cooking.
The izakaya-style restaurant describes its cooking as "Asian flair meets 21st-century creativity". Head chef Charles Lee uses traditional cooking techniques and contemporary flavours with the best of British produce. It clearly went down well with Telegraph reviewer William Sitwell who declared it "a new Soho gem whose flavours will appeal to the fresh-faced luncher or a late-night sipper with the munchies. I loved it."
The menu's split into Small Plates, Raws and Sushi, Bao Buns, Robata Skewers, and Robata Large. Kick off with J.fried chicken bites with Gochujang mayo and fresh lime or maybe miso aubergine topped with pickled shimiji mushroom and then enjoy dishes like soft shell crab rolls or tuna tartare with black caviar, quail egg and black truffle aioli.
As it's literally their signature dish, you'll be wanting to try the dishes cooked on the blazingly hot charcoal robata grill. They range from Iberico pork pluma skewers with black pepper miso to beef fillet, smoked and cooked over burning hay.
And if you're looking for an easy place for a quick lunch, there's a lunchtime fixed menu for that where you can choose 3, 4 or 5 items at £12.50, £15.50 and £18.50. Theatregoers are well served too with a pre-theatre menu of dishes like kimchi gyoza, spicy tuna roll and a glass of house wine or selected drinks included within the price.
Alternatively, if you're after somewhere to book in the run-up to Christmas for a group or party, there's room here to accommodate large parties as well as smaller, private events and corporate functions.
And as this is an izakaya (Japanese pub) there's plenty to enjoy on the drink front too with a wide range of sake and sake-based cocktails. We'd very much like to try the Ume Ocha (Umeshu plum sake, pineapple juice, peach liqueur and Sakura tea foam).
More about Robata
Where is it? 56 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 4UE
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