New? Brand new – Roba opened 11th April 2016 so we went to see how they’re getting on.
Where? 34 Norfolk Place, London W2 1QW www.robarestaurant.co.uk
On the menu: Roba is all about doing grilled food right. The simple menu is comprised of snacks (which double up as starters) including mini burgers, beetroot hummus and hot wings, larger dishes such as duck legs with quail eggs or smoked salmon and spinach mousse, and, of course, the grill, made up of a series of meats including sirloin and rib eye steaks, grilled fish and BBQ spare ribs. For those not in the BBQ mood they also offer classics like curry or fish and chips. The cocktail and wine lists are both reasonably priced, however selection is somewhat limited, especially regarding wines.
First Impressions: For a brand new restaurant my initial impression of Roba was that it was very slick and the staff were clearly well trained. Everyone was in tune with their role, ushering us swiftly to our table and taking our orders quickly. While the restaurant was near-empty, at no point did it feel uncomfortable or too quiet. My only near-negative point is that the staff, whilst lovely, were slightly over-attentive and the question “Is everything ok with your meal?” began to grate towards the end of the meal.
The Look: Unlike a large number of London’s grills, Roba is refreshingly well lit and spacious couresty of the large glass windows and doors bringing in plenty of natural light which bounds off the white walls. Neon lights hang from the ceiling offering a blue hue to the restaurant section of the venue, with red neon above the bar offering clear separation between the two while allowing for a sense of openness. The furniture is perfectly in-keeping with the overall style – sleek, modern and comfortable – with enough space between the tables to allow free and easy movement. Comfortable, cushioned booths allow for a more private dining experience.
What we ate: Under the council of our lovely waitress, our meal began with a selection from the snack menu. The mini burgers, BBQ hot wings and sweet potato fries were all delivered swiftly and each was as delicious as the last. The mini burgers truly were mini but packed with flavour and fantastically succulent meat. The wings were crispy and meaty and the sweet potato fries were crunchy and perfectly seasoned. Main course was 48-day aged sirloin steak, cooked to a perfect medium rare and so tender it fell apart without even needing a steak knife. The fries served with it were well seasoned but completely outshone by the beef, and the béarnaise sauce was creamy and thick, adding a fantastic flavour to the dish. Dessert came in the form of lavender and cinnamon panna cotta, beautifully presented in a glass topped with flowers, with a taste to match. The cinnamon came through strongly with each mouthful and slowly gave way to a subtle lavender aftertaste, and the dish topped off the meal perfectly.
What We Drank: Tangley Oaks Pinot Noir
Go With: Roba is a great location for just about any reason – date night, a friend’s birthday, family in town, colleague looking for a quick drink – Roba is equipped for all.
Final Word: If you’re a fan of grilled food but are done with the standard, dark aesthetic that often comes with these restaurants then Roba definitely can’t be beaten.