Robata Monkey @ Jaya One

July 21, 2014

Firing up our F&B scene, this white-hot new restaurant transports the unique art of rustic Japanese slow-grilling into Jaya One, serving a smorgasbord of succulent seafood with smoky, savoury subtleties.

Robata Monkey focuses on 'robatayaki,' cooking with 'bincho-tan' traditional oak charcoal that burns cleanly to ensure the restaurant's assortment of fish, flown in from the Land of Rising Sun, retains as much moisture & purity of flavour as possible.

Robata Monkey is starting this week with a selection of fish; we heartily recommend the Pacific saury (sanma), beautifully juicy & persuasively tasty. It's a terrific representative of the best of robatayaki, a centuries-old heritage of Japanese fishermen. RM15.

Bigger, meatier fish is available too; choose from Robata Monkey's Instagram-worthy counter where rows of fish dangle above, wet-market-style. The mackerel (saba, RM45), which features a ravishingly caramelised exterior, is sufficient for two to share.

Hokke mackerel, marinated & air-dried right here, another treat for fans of fish prepared in an authentically Japanese fashion. Robata Monkey expects to expand its seafood selection in the weeks ahead; expect prawns & even octopus to surface soon.

Robata Monkey offers more than barbecued seafood. We absolutely adore the oysters; the Irish Nugget & Canadian oysters (RM25 & RM18 for three respectively) are both brilliant. Pleasurably creamy & perfectly briny. 

Also delicious: Miso-braised saba (RM25), umami-rich comfort food that might prove perfect for rainy evenings.

Robata Monkey is part of the family of restaurants that includes BangoyaKissaten & Lammeeya, but this is the first member that serves no pork. But like Bangoya, it serves 'kushiyaki' skewer-grilled fare too, including monkey-approved bananas wrapped in smoked duck (RM10).

There's a sushi bar as well, so customers can indulge in bowls of rice crowned with the likes of salmon sashimi & roe ...

... or with tuna, or the classic 'chirashi' mixed fish variety. Cha-soba is offered too for carb-craving customers.

Sashimi? Worth ordering; the raw fish tastes fresh & is elegantly presented, meeting the benchmark for Japanese eateries.

Or have it fried: the Japanese whiting (kisu) tempura, delicate & flaky, does justice to this fish.

Vegetable-lovers can have their fill of nourishment here, with everything from bonito-&-seaweed-topped bitter gourd salad (RM8) ...

... to tempura eggplant & 'kakiage' mixed fare. Robata Monkey might specialise in robata, but it's actually a fully well-rounded Japanese restaurant.

Snacking is encouraged at Robata Monkey: try the fried gingko nuts, ideal for rousing the appetite.

Dessert is also satisfying, a refreshing ensemble of green tea ice cream, mochi, azuki beans & gula melaka.

The food alone makes Robata Monkey worth recommending, but the beverages are also noteworthy. The restaurant offers 'Curious Monkey' tasting flights for liquor, including ranges of wine, sake & beer. For the latter, the 'Paulaner brothers' selection (Robata Monkey specialises in Paulaner varieties) showcases a trilogy of three delectably distinctive types.

A Perfect Pair flight, featuring Sayuri & Junmai Ginjo sake, both very different from run-of-the-mill sake, with intriguing notes that persist on the palate. RM16 for two cups.

Half Moon Yuzu, Ginger & Ume-Shu Shochu, also excellent for a night out drinking with friends.

We like the Hopf ice-conditioned wheat beer too, crisp & complex, easy to consume. RM18.

Canned 'cocktails' (Sawa-Sawa & Highball), for comforting convenience.

Calpis soda to wrap up a very enjoyable evening here; four hours can fly by swiftly & smoothly at Robata Monkey.

Robata Monkey is a spacious, colourful restaurant with a lot of personal touches, including a wall full of its co-owner's photographs, taken at the Tsukiji fish market.

Wondering why there's a monkey in the outlet's name? It's basically meant to be a reference to the playfulness of this place.

Robata Monkey
L-12A-G, Palm Square, Jaya One, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Currently daily for dinner. Will open for lunch probably after Raya.

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