Melbourne’s chargrilling masters have expanded their culinary journey from South America to Japan.
Just when you thought the San Telmo Group couldn’t get any better, they’ve gone ahead and opened a Japanese eatery on Exhibition Street. With San Telmo, Pastuso, Palermo and Asado in their repertoire, it’s safe to say Robata will also harness the power of fire and smoke with a custom build charcoal grill on site. The choice of the restaurant name was obvious with ‘Robata’ directly translating to “fireside cooking”. The new restaurant will celebrate traditional Japanese methods of cooking with a modern twist in the heart of Melbourne.
Head Chef Stephen Clark is keeping true to the San Telmo brand but wants to bring Melbournians something new. The concept was inspired by his travels in Japan, eating his way through the bustling Shinjuku Golden Gai district, one Wagyu Beef Yakitori at a time. “The grill has always been my greatest inspiration, and it’s still front and centre even in this new chapter of my career. To be able to combine that with the memories and experiences I had in Japan is really terrific”, says Clark.
As with any traditional Japanese restaurant, the menu highlights are the Yakitori and Kushiyaki. Think Wagyu Beef, Skull Island Prawns or Pork Belly marinated in umami-rich Japanese flavours, kissed by flames and served on a skewer, as it should be. Vegetarians don’t need to fret with options like Turnip and Shiitake Mushroom grilled to perfection over the Robatayaki Grill. You’ll also be able to get your hands on fresh Sashimi and artesian Nigiri, and it wouldn’t be a Japanese menu without the perfect Pork Katsu.
“I’ve always loved Japanese cuisine. It’s simplicity, variety and focuses on freshness. This menu will offer new flavours and dishes that fans of The San Telmo Group have not seen on our menus before. While charcoal grilling is still the focus, the rest is brand new and we’re really excited”, Clark adds.
The drinks menu follows the Japanese theme featuring the world’s most renowned Sake brands like Homare Black Label Junmai Daiginjo and Dassai 39. Whisky lovers will be impressed by a range of limited releases that have been imported directly from Japan. Cocktail lovers can get their fix with the Toasted Sesame Whisky Highball or the Ancient Remedy, a Japanese take on the classic Penicillin which combines Nikka Whisky, ginger, honey, lemon and matcha.
The venue itself is impressive and boasts a beautiful design by Melbourne-based architect Ewert Leaf. The interiors are best described as minimal, however it’s juxtaposed by the neon lights and street signs you typically see on the streets of Tokyo.
From boozy lunches to celebratory dinner dates, we’d put this new venue on your radar.
Find out more about Robata and their takeaway offering here