The team behind restaurants San Telmo, Pastuso, Palermo and Asado have spent most of the past decade taking Melbourne’s taste buds on a culinary escape to South America. The flavors of Peru and Argentina are championed in all four menus, but now the San Telmo Group is completely switching continents to take inspiration from across the globe for their latest venture – Robata Japanese Grill.
The kitchen embraces the art of charcoal cooking with as much enthusiasm as the rest of its stable, but Japanese techniques and traditions are clearly at the fore here. A custom-built robatayaki grill takes center stage in Robata’s kitchen, and a careful selection of produce remains at the forefront of the menu.
Former San Telmo Chef Stephen Clark takes the reins and guides the grill offering, drawing on his own experiences eating across Japan.
“The grill has always been my biggest inspiration, and it’s still at the forefront even in this new chapter of my career,” said Clark. “I have always loved Japanese cuisine. It’s simplicity, variety and an emphasis on freshness. This menu will offer new flavors and new dishes that fans of the San Telmo Group have never seen on our menus before. “
In a playful and minimalist space on Exhibition Street, the restaurant is inspired by the streets of Tokyo. Futuristic elements and neon lights galore give a very different feel to Robata’s siblings, with fresh interiors courtesy of famous Melbourne-based company Ewert Leaf.
The izakaya-style menu is showcased by a plethora of yakitori and kushiyaki skewers, cooked over charcoal. Choose from chicken meatballs in dried egg yolk and tare sauce, lemon Skull Island shrimp, nori salted turnip, and pork belly dressed in yuzu kosho (a type of chili paste). Other snacks come in like sashimi, onigiri, and a soy beef tartare, while bigger bites can include a tonkatsu pork cutlet with cabbage and mustard, and Rangers Valley’s skirt steak made with it. shio koji (a marinade of fermented grains). Add a side of charred broccolini and shiraee (crushed tofu salad) and a sparkling sake and sakura sorbet for dessert.
An expertly brewed range of drinks ensure you’ll wash down your food with top-notch drops, whether it’s a Coedo craft beer or a bottle of Yarra Valley Chardonnay. The bar serves a wide range of imported sake and the full range of Nikka Japanese whiskey, while a selection of cocktails features sips like an umeshu sour, shochu-infused espresso martini, and sake martini with salt plum.
Find Robata Japanese Grill at 2 Exhibition Street, Melbourne. It is open from 5:00 p.m. to late Wednesday and from 12:00 p.m. to late Thursday to Sunday.
Posted on 03 August 2021 by