Robata Grill has, without a doubt, climbed the ranks to become one of the top spots in the city for quality Japanese fare carefully prepared by Chef Nobu. From Sushi platters to great bento box deals, they’ve always had an offering that will appeal to even the pickiest foodie. So when we heard that Robata Grill had introduced Tokyo Night, a Japanese buffet held every Friday evening, we couldn’t wait to check it out. Here’s the scoop.
The ambience hasn’t changed much since our last visit - the space is still sophisticated and tasteful with Japanese elements utilised to tie in the look. Additions to their space, however, include a teppanyaki grill. Ambient lighting affords guests a more private atmosphere; the layout of the seating and the effective use of the space only adding to the experience.
Their Sushi Corner was a delight and the first thing we went for at the buffet. It included an assortment of nigiri, maki and rolls. We started with the Nigiri which is where a thin slice of raw fish is layered on top of a mound of rice. There was a selection of Salmon, Snapper and Tuna nigiri, freshly sliced and laid out. The Snapper nigiri isn’t something we’ve seen nor eaten before so it was different from the usual Salmon and Tuna. We also had their Avocado Sushi and their Shrimp Tempura Sushi. The Shrimp Tempura was a special favourite with a perfectly crispy shrimp sandwiched in the middle of sticky rice and rolled in seaweed. Their California Roll also had a generous amount of crab meat and avocado and was covered in orange tobiko caviar.
Our star dishes from their Sushi Corner was the Spicy Tuna and Salmon Rolls. We couldn’t get enough of these when we last came in for a review and we still couldn’t get enough of it at the buffet! Robata does a killer spicy roll and we recommend this wholeheartedly! Both the Tuna and the Salmon were delicious and had a heat to it that we loved. We would have stolen the whole lot for ourselves but alas, even in a buffet, one must attempt to control themselves!
It’s easy to forget that Japanese cuisine is so much more than just Sushi and Sashimi, and it’s also very easy to stuff yourself with these. Which is why we highly recommend you pace yourself out and try everything else on the spread before going back for seconds of Sushi - no easy feat, we’ll admit. The ‘heavier’ Japanese fare were all located at the far end of the buffet. Considering this was a Japanese buffet, we weren’t surprised to see that Miso Soup was the soup on offer. Robata has always done a pretty good Miso soup devoid of overpowering flavours, and we found it to be just as good this time around. Adjacent to the soup was the Assorted Yakitori and Assorted Kushi-Age. The yakitori was placed separately with chicken, beef and pork among the choices offered. We tried the chicken yakitori that we loved. The chicken was succulent and juicy, and the yakitori sauce was well balanced with a hint of spiciness. The Kushi-Age meanwhile, which comprised deep fried, panko crusted seafood and vegetables was another favourite off their spread. Neither the vegetables nor the seafood was overdone, which made it perfectly enjoyable.
Part of the mains available was the Takikomi Rice and Yaki Soba. The Takikomi rice was a Japanese rice dish made of short grain rice that includes vegetables and meat. Considering that the vegetables and meat were cooked with the rice, instead of being tossed in later on, the rice was incredibly flavourful and tasted great even when eaten by itself.
The Yaki Soba, a Japanese noodle stir fry was a stand out from this section though was the Chicken Karaage. While chicken karaage often tastes pretty good at most places, we’re often deprived of one of the major elements that make the karaage great - the combination of the juicy chicken paired with the crispy coating. This is why the karaage here stood out - the chefs here nailed it, and since it kept disappearing like hotcakes, they were constantly being fried and refilled. The freshness made it even tastier. Also bound to be a favourite among the young and old alike were the Chicken Balls - freshly made chicken meatballs in a sauce.
No Japanese meal is complete without tempura and despite our full tummies, we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to have them. We had the shrimp and vegetable Tempura, which was fried in a very light batter. We were quite impressed at how consistently the fried meats and vegetables were fried to perfection in all their iterations here at Robata.
Their Teppanyaki Grill not just serves up some good grilled meats but is also a showstopper. Once you go to the Teppanyaki, you can choose your meats from a variety of chicken, prawn, squid, beef and fish and then stand back and watch as the man behind the grill works his magic! There’s a whole lot of sauces that goes into your meat but the end result is juicy, succulent meat hot off the grill. We also said it’s a showstopper because if you are lucky you might just be treated to some cool fire tricks the likes of what you see on TV!
The buffet at Robata is priced at Rs. 3,900/- nett and is available every Friday. We loved the assortment of sushi and sashimi and the spread. The spread, while not exorbitant, included all our favourite Japanese foods. The lack of an overwhelmingly large spread also ensured that the food tasted pretty good, and there was barely anything we outright disliked or were dissatisfied with. The Tokyo Night will even make a great date option especially considering the ambience.
24, Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 3
011 7 450450
By Rihaab Mowlana & Panchali Illankoon
Pics - Movenpick Colombo