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Roba Bar and Restaurant

Restaurants, British London
2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

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A Paddington restaurant claiming to specialise in robata-style grilled meat.

Robata is a Japanese style of grilling: traditionally a communal experience cooking meat over coals in the centre of a room. This newish restaurant, among the nondescript pubs and hotels surrounding Paddington station, claims robata as its ‘signature grill’ – even though the food’s British and it’s made out of sight.

We decided to go with the mixed grill for two. What we got was a flavourless chicken breast, two forgettable lamb chops and a steak ordered medium-rare but barely pink at all. There was something apologetic about the coriander and tarragon that garnished it. A side order of truffle mac ’n’ cheese made for a pungent, crunchy distraction, at least.

Desserts were better, but any serving of dopamine-spiking sugar is going to be, right? A dark chocolate ‘cylinder’ turned out to be a kind of Mini Roll-rocky road hybrid; cinnamon and lavender panna cotta tasted of neither ingredient. The staff smiled a lot but, given the place was like the Mary Celeste, the little mistakes they made were hard to excuse.

Maybe the non-robata stuff here is better. But if you’re going to name your establishment after a section of the menu, you’d better make sure it aspires to more than this. Perhaps they could consult masters of the Far Eastern tradition. Or failing that, JD Wetherspoon.

By: Matt Breen



Address: Norfolk Towers Hotel
34 Norfolk Place
W2 1QW
Transport: Tube: Paddington
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 7am-10am, midday-10.30pm; Sun 7.30am-10.30am, midday-10.30pm
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