Ramen, Sushi Bars or Yakitori joints, are all well established in the average gourmet’s Japanese food vocabulary, but robatayaki, well that’s another one altogether.
So where can one go, to fill up on tasty meats, seafood and vegetable dishes served fresh off the grill? Where small portions of meat, fish or vegetables are slow-grilled to perfection on smoking charcoal, and diners are allowed to sit at the counter, watching their dinner slow cook on the flame.
Robata Monkey. At Jaya 1.
We step inside, and immediately love the atmosphere. Casual, relaxed, with incandescent lighting, and a warm glow permeating from an open grill, we make our way to the Robatayaki counter. It might be a little warmer than the other tables in the restaurant, but no matter, this was were the action was. And the closer to the action, the better.
The chef puts all manner of fish onto skewered to be grilled before our very eyes..
We say, give us all the specials today, and the waitress happily complies. She says to order the 3 wise monkeys, the Salmon Belly Yaki, and the Baby Salmon Ichiyaboshi.
3 wise monkeys : banana, ladies fingers, mushroom
The 3 wise monkeys turned out to be nicely caramalized banana, ladies fingers or mushrooms wrapped in smoked duck and BBQed vertically on the coals. Since this place does not serve pork, the duck was actually a great substitute. Loved the banana wrap the best as they used the small sweet, sugar bananas that I love. The mushroom one tasted like liver – we found out that at the heart of it was the soft matter from the salmon stomach. Interesting but it had a weird taste.
Salmon belly – fatty
Make sure you order the decorous salmon belly, which is scattered with sea salt and served with a little mound of ground daikon, pickled lotus root and a chaste squeeze of lemon. Fatty and sinful, wash this down with some Suntory beer on tap for the ultimate experience.
Baby Salmon Ichiyaboshi
Since we were on a roll, we decided to go with fish all the way. Ichiya-boshi literally means ‘one night dried’. Not so much hanged, drawn and quartered but rather hanged, marinated & air-dried, then cooked in sake and salt.. this was the bomb. I thought the flesh might be too hard, but this was not so.
Only the outer layer was slightly caramelized. The inner flesh was still moist and succulent. This baby Salmon was amazing, and the portion feeds two comfortably.
You don’t really need wasabi nor soy sauce, as this lotus root marinated in sweet vinegar goes with everything.
Things start to really heat up around the Robatayaki at around 7pm..
Next, we will be back for the hotate no irori yaki – apparently the Hotate juices are super Oishii!!Follow me on Instagram : @agentcikay
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L-12A-G, Palm Square, Jaya One, Petaling Jaya, Selangor