It just makes perfect synergistic sense for a healthy supermarket giant like Whole Foods to combine with a Japanese culinary expert like Genji to open up a restaurant like Sushi and Robata when they can readily source the best possible ingredients for their kitchen. The menu is not just Japanese orientated but pan-Asian orientated including dim sum and appetising sounding dishes like duck and orange soba.
The location is ideal above the ever popular Whole Foods Market in High Street Kensington. The decor is refreshingly relaxed and informal with royal blue banquette seating and almost floor to ceiling windows. My only reservation is the fact that it is situated in a food court, which is great for an off-the-cuff meal but might bring raised eyebrows if you are taking someone to impress on a first date.
The food itself would thrill any guest that you are keen on winning over. The ocean temptation platter had all the key sashimi offerings you would have dreamed of and desired: tuna, salmon, mackerel, hiramasa, hand dived scallops, sea bass, amaebi and ikura. They were all finest sourced, sashimi-grade catches; with even the lesser well-known sashimi choices like hiramasa and sea bass matching up well to the quality of the more popular items like salmon and tuna.
I’ve always struggled with the pricing for robata restaurants in London, which tends to be on the high side considering it is a cheap form of barbecue to complement after work drinks in Japan. The most cost-effective way to try the skewers here is to opt for their 12 pieces selection. The winners were most of the meat dishes whilst the less successful offerings were items like tofu and quail eggs which are extremely easy to make dry by the slightest amount of cooking. The meat worked well when marinated with sweet soy sauce, dishes like the chicken wings were full of flavour and perfect for matching with craft beer. Yuzu miso complemented the pork belly ideally and was another highlight from the robata menu.
Many guests might just offer a self-containing bento box during their short break from their shopping exertions. The chicken namban we tried was more flavoursome than a typical katsu chicken dish because the namban technique involves frying the meat and then also marinated it in at least vinegar and soy sauce. The bento box came with healthy dose of salad with a vibrant Japanese salad dressing, tofu and steamed rice.
There is so much to offer at Sushi and Robata, I just hope visitors look beyond the food court atmosphere and visit the restaurant to sample their incredibly fresh offerings.