5 November 2014

Robata, Khar: Review

This narrow by-lane off Khar station is home to a number of pubs and watering holes, serving cheaply priced booze and music to match. The latest entrant in that very lane, offering kebabs, grills, Mughlai gravies, moderately priced cocktails, all at a decibel where you don't have to scream your lungs out to place your order, is Robata. 

With new restaurants cropping up left, right and center; it will be interesting to see how Robata holds ground. What may set it apart is that they use a Japanese style of grilling called Robatayaki, shortened to Robata. Here the skewers of meat or vegetables are grilled over hot charcoal-fired hearth called 'irori', which is supposed to ensure perfect texture and flavor of meat. Do they stand true to their claim? I was there to find out.

Situated amidst many other restaurants, Robata's bright red exterior and huge signage makes it hard to miss. The interiors are done up in the same colour; hues of red and brown with lattice walls and low lights. There's also an interesting looking bar right at the entrance, lacking bar stools though, which the manager said they'll be adding soon. The ambiance is pretty basic and lacks any theme - neither Oriental nor Indian. The Robata grill is operational inside their kitchen, but I think having a few individual grills on some tables where the diners can grill their own meat, can be a big crowd puller.

Bar Tales

Since we were there by invitation to sample the food, I'm holding back any comments on the service. We seated ourselves in a corner of this barely 3 week-old-eatery, which was empty the night we visited. Our meal that night started off with a Non-Vegetarian platter of their choicest grills. There were succulent and spicy 'Fish Tikka' pieces along with 'Chicken Tikka in a fiery Tabasco sauce', which tasted like a regular chicken tikka to me. The green coloured 'Pahadi Kababs' were delicious, but the star of the night was the grilled 'Tandoori Pomfret', perfectly coated with masala outside and perfectly cooked within. All our meat dishes were grilled well, charred lightly on the exterior yet juicy within with a smoky taste. Even after our chicken turned cold, since we were focusing on stripping the pomfret bare, the chicken did not turn dry and rubbery. We were told this is what sets the Robata style of grilling apart from the regular technique.

Non-Vegetarian Tasting Platter
(Clockwise): Fish Tikka, Pahadi Kabab,
Fiery Tabasco Chicken Tikka,Tandoori Pomfret
Love these glass jars!
Our Vegetarian tasting platter started off with the safe 'Paneer Tikka', like most paneer tikkas we've tasted. I'm not a fan of a 'vegetarian Seekh Kabab' one bit. If anything it's insulting to the meat-y goodness we call Seekh Kababs. This one was decent and those who've never eaten the original may enjoy. Not for the non-vegetarian palate. The vegetarian starter that I enjoyed the most was the 'Tandoori style Stuffed Potatoes' - scooped out potatoes filled with veggies-green peas-paneer and coated with red tandoori masala. The vegetarian grill options were not as distinguishable as the meat ones, in terms of the style of grilling that was employed. I'm assuming the Robata technique may be more pronounced in cases of meat or fish, even though our potatoes had some hint of smokiness.

Vegetarian Tasting Platter
(Clockwise): Paneer Tikka, Stuffed Tandoori Aloo,
Veg Seekh Kababs
Our mains arrived in the prettiest glass jars, that seems to be the latest fad at many restaurants. The Indian gravies are cream laden, thick, and on the heavier side. Our 'Kasturi Chicken' were well cooked, boneless chicken pieces doused in a gravy made with this aromatic herb. The 'Paneer Lababdar' on the other side was too sweet and creamy for my liking. We paired these with good ol' Kulchas and a fragrant 'Jeera Rice', again in the glass jar.

Paneer Lababdar
Kasturi Chicken
Jeera Rice
If you have any stomach space left after making your way through the kababs and creamy gravies, there are desserts up for grabs. A completely avoidable 'Hazelnut Mousse' which had the texture of a pudding, in my opinion. The 'Banana Caramel Cheesecake' on the other hand was delicious, with its thin banana layer, soft biscuit base, and dulce de leche oozing out. 

Banana Caramel Cheesecake
Hazelnut Mousse
What works in Robata's favour is its location and the kind of cuisine it serves. There's nothing like kebabs, grills and greasy Indian fare post a night of drinking. There are tons of booze joints in that lane, and I can see potential customers emerge from there wanting to satiate their hunger once they're done partying. And judging from the annoying karaoke music that wafted over to our restaurant from the neighboring pub, the party goers would sure be hungry! The loud music spilling over was hampering our entire dining experience, though.

A non-vegetarian starter will set you back by Rs. 300/- and a main by Rs. 450, on an average. Go for the kebabs and curries that won't burn a hole in your pocket. Skip if you're looking for fancy food with a fancier ambiance to match. 

Contact: Robata, Hotel Unicontinental, 3rd Road, Next To Khar (West) Railway Station, Khar, Mumbai.
Phone: 022 33715931


  1. Again, Nice pics. The ambiance comes off as a mix bag. The first screenshot seems like "Morroco meets Indian road Dhaba" while the second looks like "Chinese with a bit of Jaipuri". That is my personal inference from the pictures, it may have felt differently in actuality. The kababs look good delicious especially the tabasco Tikka. Was the food oily or just right ? The desserts dont appear too impressive though.

    1. Thank you for all the appreciation, Rishabh.
      Yes, the ambience follows no fixed theme as I mentioned. A bit of this and that...
      The kababs and grills were definitely the highlight. I would recommend those. The mains and desserts aren't exceptional at all.

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