Robata Grill is Monster’s Sushi’s take on the Ikibana concept with the addition of a robata grill to allow for the introduction of a collection of warm grilled dishes. A corner spot on Enric Granados, it presents a discrete facade: black smoked glass through which a hazy suggestion of the inside is visible and small neat lettering on the door. Inside, plenty of room to wait while a denim uniformed bespectacled young woman looks up your booking on a Mac.
It’s a “nice” place. The group in front of us is dressed in black and camel, the black still inky with newness. A man seated close to us is wearing pressed button down shirt with a blue cashmere sweater draped over his shoulders, à la 1990 – but you know, still nice, making an effort. I underline this because I have misjudged the pictures on the internet and have chosen this restaurant to have a birthday lunch with my young family. My loudest twin (in volume) has insisted she make her entrance with her strobe light Mini Mouse hairband on full disco mode. The other two children have dressed themselves and look like a knot of play doh when the colours are all mixed up but haven’t started to go brown yet. To add to the colour onslaught, I’ve chosen to wear orange jeans.
Not that Robata does not welcome children, it does, but the children already seated are dressed in navy, grey and slate and take a while to spot. Whereas my gaggle, once they have installed their glowing Elsa dolls, are considerably more conspicuous. In spite of this, our service is attentive, polite and friendly.
Our vibrantly coloured group pops out loudly against a muted palette of blue grey walls, black marble tables and the similarly coloured wrap around sofa banquette. There is warmth from the wooden floors and dark caramel coloured wooden chairs. On my visit to the bathroom I discover 5 other rooms. One dark with a bar running the length of the room, a bright skylit room (often photographed and communicated and in stark contrast with what is actually a dark restaurant of muted palette), the darkest room of all is off that.
We order extensively but steer clear of the cream cheese sushi. (To my mind cream cheese sushi is for supermarkets or children’s lunch boxes, I am constantly perplexed as to why they are so popular in Barcelona). We order edamame (4), Chicken Gyoza (8), Yakisoba (11), Maki (5), somehow something called a ‘Curry Tuna Tango’ sneaks in- I think it has mango inside (12), Eel Nigiri (3 per piece), Salmon Nigiri (2.5 per piece). Then the robata grill Teriyaki chicken (2.5), Iberico pork shoulder (3), Filet (4), Asparagus (3) and Yaki Onigiri (2).
It comes out quickly, our table is filled with an array of pretty handmade dishes in unusual formats. The gyoza are delicate and fashioned into a pretty spiral with crispy lacy bits. The nigiri are ordered per piece and therefore on the pricey side but well made and tender. We’ve ordered the Yakisoba for the kids to share but they’ve balanced the sweetness in it. The robata items are smoky and tasty.
There are a few pieces I don’t even get a look in on, since the small members at our table snarfle it all up. Which means I have to come next time, dressed in black with only an adult for company.
Carrer d’Enric Granados, 55