Robata is a type of Japanese cuisine that has its roots in Northern Japan, featuring charcoal-grilled food. It seems that there is an impending wave of Robata cuisine these days. However, it is difficult to find good, casual and affordable Robata meals as the ingredients are usually freshly air-flown from Japan, which explains the high price point. Introduced by my mum, I am happy to share with you a brand new Hamanoya Robata restaurant at the revamped-wing of Marina Square.
The restaurant has a contemporary outlook to it. Instead of the usual way of enjoying Robata meals where diners sit in front of the chefs, the chefs bring their daily fresh ingredients (eg. fish) right to the table in a traditional rattan basket upon request. During my visit, I was only given their lunch bento set menu, which was rather limited, so do ask for their ala-carte menu!
Service at Hamanoya Robata is also excellent, extending the traditional style of Japanese hospitality. Warm and loud greetings announce your arrival and service staff will squat beside your table when you place your orders. During my meal, the owner of the restaurant (I’m assuming here) was there as well to serve tables. I really respect bosses who are hands-on in their own businesses, directly managing the floor themselves to ensure that the highest standards in food and service are delivered to patrons. It definitely makes me want to return and support the restaurant.
Sashimi of the Day ($14.99) – This was Seabass sashimi – fresh from Japan. The meat was firm and delicate, which I really enjoyed. Good sashimi has to be enjoyed with fresh, crunchy white radish shreds. I’m glad that Hamanoya has met this standard.
Scallop “Yakikamoboko” [Grilled whole scallop topped w fishcake] ($6.99) – This dish was rather innovative – almost a cross-combination of Chinese Yong Tau Foo and Japanese Yakitori. The fish stuffing was fabulous as it was springy and smooth in texture, without any fishy smell. It had blended very well with the scallop such that I almost thought I was eating scallop meat the entire time!
Chicken Ball w Half-boiled Egg ($4.99) – This is one dish that I can never miss if it ever appears on a menu! Directly grilled on the wooden spoon, the minced meat was spread across it, resulting in even cooking but also rather small amount of meat too. However, the teriyaki sauce was not overly salty and the egg was simply divine.
Mixed Mushrooms ($6.99) – This had too little gravy. Don’t get me wrong though – the mushrooms had soaked up all the gravy and were nothing but moist and yummy. However, I prefer my mushrooms with more gravy to go with rice dishes.
Inaniwa Udon ($9.99) – Some plain udon will be good to go with all the side dishes available!
Lightly Grilled Steak Rice Bowl ($24.99) – This was overall a good dish, yet I’m not too sure of the cut of the meat as there were soft bones and tendons which impeded some enjoyable moments with my steak. That said, the doneness of the steak was perfect for me! I also loved how the thin spring onion/leek shreds lifted the flavours of this heavy dish.
Hamanoya Robata is the restaurant to go to for unpretentious and fuss-free Robata meals. I really appreciate how the prices are reasonable as compared to other restaurants specialising in Robata cuisine and the quality is definitely higher than the price you’re paying. The service provided makes you feel valued too. A restaurant with high potential, no doubt!
Hamanoya Robata Japanese Restaurant
Marina Square, #02-106
6 Raffles Boulevard
Tel: 6337 4245