Robun has just opened on Bath’s prestigious George’s Street, offering quality Japanese fare for lunch, tea and dinner.
The restaurant takes its inspiration from Kaganaki Robun’s book, Seiyō ryōritsū, which was published in 1872 and introduced Western barbecue to Japan.
Their modern-day interpretation of “Yakiniku” specialises in sharing plates of grilled meats, seafood and vegetables fused with Asia cuisine.
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Not knowing what to expect from this brave new venue, Emma Elgee and I booked a table for lunch and went in open-minded.
Robun offers lunch with two courses for £18.95, or dishes a la carte. We thought the Robun Sashimi and Nigiri Set on the a la carte menu looked appealing so plumped for that.
There was no way of knowing what it contained from the menu, which took a minimalist approach to detail.
When we asked the waitress whether that would be enough for lunch for two, she said “probably not” and advised us to get something else as well.
That was how we ended up ordering the Two Baos of Pork and Chicken for a cool £13.95 – on top of the £45 sharer dish.
Considering the hefty price tag, I was expecting something spectacular to come out through the kitchen doors – and I wasn’t disappointed.
Robun Sashimi and Nigiri Set
Normally when I write a review, I go through each ingredient of the dish in detail – but in this case, I had to guess what I was eating.
The first part of our sharing set was the nigiri plate, containing salmon, tuna, and what looked like white tuna, or maybe yellowtail.
The nigiri sharer set at Robun
(Image: Bath Live)
The salmon nigiri was delicious, with a lovely dressing of what tasted like horseradish or mustard to give it a kick.
The tuna was also good, and came with caviar for an added flare, but tasted bland compared to the salmon.
However, when complemented by some handy ginger, it too had interesting taste. The white tuna had a bit more flavour and went well with the green mustard provided.
Just as we were polishing off the tasty nigiri, the sashimi pièce de résistance arrived.
At first we couldn’t even see the fish through the thick fog piling out of an enormous shell which apparently contained our lunch.
The sashimi shell at Robun
(Image: Bath Live)
As the mist cleared, we saw four smaller shells, along with a pot of sauce, which were full of sashimi.
Again, it looked like salmon, tuna, and yellowtail in the bowls. These went very well with the salad leaves and paste, but the taste and texture became somewhat samey after a while.
Baos of Pork and Chicken
After we had finished our delicately flavoured dishes of sushi, our bao buns arrived.
We had no idea what was in these, apart from the meats, but boy was it fiery.
If you like spicy food then you have to try these, but – as there was no mention of spice on the menu – it came as a bit of a shock.
The pork and chicken baos at Robun
(Image: Bath Live)
I went for the chicken bao and found the meat to be deliciously cooked with a light batter, yet still succulent.
Cucumber and spring onions were also involved, however these were overpowered by the sauce.
By the end, Emma and I were left with watering eyes, burning lips and empty water glasses. Thankfully these were refilled before long.
Have you been to Robun yet? Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.
Robun is a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of Bath and if you want quality over quantity then it is a good place to go.
However, we spent nearly £80 on lunch for two people – including one drink each – and didn’t finish feeling particularly full or satisfied.
I have had decent sushi and paid a lot less elsewhere and, although the smoking shell was spectacular, I would have appreciated more information about what I was eating.
Similarly, if you had ordered the baos as someone who didn’t like spicy food, you would have had a nasty surprise when they arrived.
Overall, I would say that if you want somewhere fancy to go on a date, or a family meal, then Robun would be good for a one-off.
However, unless you’re rolling in it, you can probably get the same quality elsewhere for less.
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