Robata recently opened on Old Compton Street in Soho and it bills itself as an izakaya, serving a Japanese menu of raw fish, junk food snacks, grilled skewers and bigger dishes cooked on the robata. It’s a small joint but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in flavour. Each dish is an assault on the senses – salty, spicy, sour, creamy, zesty – flavours that will knock out your taste buds, and all that alongside a decent sake selection.
We worked our way from the raw section, kicking off with the butterfish tataki; chunks of butterfish in a punchy ponzu sauce, the crab tempura roll smothered in gochujang chlili mayo and seabass ceviche with pools of yuzu soy and mango tiger’s milk. From the robata we enjoyed the juicy Iberico pluma pork with black pepper miso skewers – one of the few dishes that came sauce-free with the meat so flavoursome it marched to its own beat – and the miso aubergine with pickled mushrooms and chilli, smothered again in a zesty, creamy sour sauce.
Perhaps the highlight though was the fried chicken with sweet, spicy glaze, kimichi and pickled daikon. A sloppy, beautiful mess that was hard to eat but well worth the condiment make-up aftermath. If only orange blusher was in season…
It’s naughty, saucy food but if like us you’re a fan of ponzu, yuzu, spicy mayo and chilli then you won’t be disappointed.
56 Old Compton Street, London W1D 4UE