Its serious monkey business in Robata Monkey, a robatayaki style izakaya. Robatayaki is a technique in Japanese cuisine where food is grilled over an open sandpit hearth in front of the customer. Coupled with its wide array of local & imported Japanese fresh seafood, juicy meats & seasonal vegetables grilled; Robaya Monkey is definitely a heaven for seafood lovers.
Upon stepping into Robata Monkey, we immediately enjoy the ambiance of the traditional Japanese setting with its rustic wood interior, high ceiling and the casual atmosphere.
It feels like we were being transported to a neighborhood restaurant in a small town in Japan. Robata Monkey’s selection of alcohol is sizable, spanning the spectrum of liquors from beers, to sake to shoju and cocktails.
Behind the counter, robata chef Raymond is the key person who select the ingredients and control the grilling. “Timing is the number one secret to robatayaki,” he said. You will only turn the food once (most of the time), to retain the juiciness of your fresh ingredients.
As we have mentioned earlier; Robata Monkey focuses on ‘robatayaki’. This cooking method is keeping with the traditional robatayaki style, which originated in rustic farmhouses throughout Sendai. Story goes that fishermen put red-hot charcoal in a solid wooden box at the start of the day, took it with them, and at the end of the day the charcoal would still be hot enough to cook the fish as soon as they dock.
Cheers! When in Rome, do as the Romans do. A typical Japanese dinner always start with beer and light snacks, followed by more drinking after that. We started off with the Palauner Naturtrueb that is light and flavourful. This followed by Paulaner Dunkel that is a top fermented, palatable beer with a fresh, strong aroma.
Sanma Maki Yaki (RM 20)
I like how the chef sliced the sanma fish (pacific saury) and rolled it to resemble a maki roll. The sanma maki yaki was so delicious as it has this natural oily, rich taste that is characteristic of other ‘blue’ fishes. The fish head and fish bone too, was so crispy and full of flavours after deep frying. We literally licked the plate clean.
Saba Fish – Ichiyaboshi (Salt Dried Saba Fish, RM 60)
Ichiya-boshi literally means ‘one night dried’, or, fish dried over night. After one night, and just a little salt, the fish is slightly dried on the outside but retaining the most of the juiciness inside.The salt dried saba fish here is prepared in traditional Japanese method. We have tried many saba in many Japanese restaurants before, but nothing beats this. The flesh retained its moisture and the salt dried method boosted the umami and flavor of the fish. Must Try!
Yaki Yaki x 3 pieces(Grilled Fresh Oysters, RM 25), Kaki Fry x 3 pieces (Deep Fried Oysters, RM 27); Kaki x 3 pieces (Irish Premium Oysters, RM 25)
Robata Monkey shared with us three ways to enjoy fresh oysters – raw, grilled or deep fried. We liked the grilled oysters the best, as the heat brings out the briny sweetness in fresh oysters.
Monkey Says (Omakaze, RM 60)
The freshness and quality of the fish used to make sashimi is, naturally, the key to its success. The sashimi was pleasantly fresh, succulent and sweet. We really enjoy the texture of the thickly cut sashimis too.
Sayuri (RM 58, 300ml), Junmai Ginjo (RM 58, 300 ml)
After some nom,nom, nom, it’s time to drink drink drink. Just like a lady, the Sayuri Sake has a naturally sweet and smooth taste. Using only selected rice and rice koji, sayuri is brewed up carefully with the natural spring water from mount rokko.
The best companion to Sayuri is the Junmai Ginjo which has a flowery fragrant and is silky smooth and lightly dry. Using only the finest rice and Rada’s famed natural spring water “miyamizu”, it has been brewed with meticulous care and traditional method.
It was utterly delicious! The miso glaze had all the right flavours – salty, sweet with a light hint of sake. The salmon was cooked just right, succulent and not too flaky.
Puffer Fish (Fugu Karaage, RM 50)
Puffer fish is regarded as a delicacies in Japan and it was our first time trying it. We both agreed the texture was a lot like chicken and the taste was slighty sweet. Such interesting texture and taste!
Tempura Maitake Mushroom (RM 10)
Probably one of the best ways to eat maitake. The light and crispy exterior perfectly complements the firm, meaty mushroom, which remains sweet and juicy.
Hokkaido Hokke Fish – Ichiyaboshi (salt dried hokke fish, RM 60)
This sparkling sake was my favorite! It is made of rice and rice koji. It has carbonic acid gas generated naturally by the bottle fermentation. And its clean sweetness reminds you of refreshing champagne.
Monkey Yaki (Banana with Smoked Duck, RM 10)
Inspired by us (ahem ahem); the monkey yaki uses smoked duck instead of bacon as it is a pork free restaurant. You can’t compare it to the real deal but it is still delicious nonetheless.
Monkey Yaki Roll (RM 16)
Mango Chesecake and Strawberry Cheesecake (RM 9 each)
Our stomachs were on the verge of bursting with all those food, but there is always room for dessert! The mango cheesecake looked so pretty and tasted so good.
Robata Monkey is highly recommended for its fresh fishes, friendly atmosphere and extensive drink list. It is best to make reservation if you are coming in a big group as the place get very packed during the weekends.