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Barbecoa St. Paul's
020 3005 8555

Barbecoa Piccadilly
0203 005 9666

Please note that tables of up to four people will be reserved for two hours and tables of five or more will be reserved for two and a half hours.

JAPANESE ROBATAYAKI: FRESH OFF THE BOAT AND ON TO THE FLAME

Welcome to the first in our blog series, the World of Barbecue, where we explore the most exciting barbecue techniques and flavours that the world has to offer. We start with a Barbecoa favourite, the robatayaki.

Think of traditional Japanese cuisine and you’d be forgiven for overlooking barbecue. But alongside other famous national techniques, such as the Argentine asado and Hawaiian kalua, sits the Japanese robatayaki (or simply the robata grill). While some think of barbecue as just a means to an end, the robatayaki is edible theatre that, to this day, relies on the same tools and techniques that have been used for centuries.

The robata began as a takeaway oven. Using stone boxes, fishermen would transport hot coals from home to their fishing boats so they could keep warm and cook hot food while away on fishing trips. Sticks skewered with the catch of the day would balance over the coals’ glow.


In contemporary robata, freshness plays just as important a role. Today’s robata restaurants are horseshoe-shaped, allowing guests to survey the produce in front of them to verify freshness before making their order.

The spotlight rests on the chef, who moves ingredients from counter to counter on a wooden paddle – mimicking the fisherman’s oar – before grilling the diner’s selection. Harking back again to the grill’s simple origins, ingredients are rarely complicated with sauces or sides – just beautifully fresh food, simply seasoned and coal-smoked.


At Barbecoa, the robata is our busiest grill with a whole host of our dishes passing over its flames – from Rump to Sirloin. Don’t be afraid to have a peek through our kitchen window to see how they get the robata treatment.