Goa has long been a go-to destination for travellers from across the globe. But what really sets Goa apart is its diverse mix of food and lifestyle, which reflects the melting-pot that it is of culture and influences. Headed to Goa and wandering the winding lanes of Anjuna, we too wished to get a glimpse of the medley of flavours, traditions and rituals. That's when we stumbled upon Roboto, a casual dining restaurant offering authentic South-East Asian cuisine and experience and a quirky robot mascot delivering only the finest offerings in a fun, quirky and kawaii (cute) aesthetic. The restaurant is the brainchild of restaurateur Parth Timbadia, who is also the mastermind behind Bonobo, Mumbai; Mahé at Anjuna; and the upcoming Clumsy Bar and Restaurant at Vagator.
An old bungalow on the corner of the street, transformed into a trendy bar and restaurant, the concept behind their menu is inspired by Roboto's (a youthful character who loves to travel and explore the culture and street food of various regions) soujourns to Japan and Korea. We were greeted by a massive bar complete with a vast collection of alcohol, an elegant seating area with plush chairs and soft lighting that gives the space a cosy ambiance. For those who prefer to soak in the vibes of the street, head out towards the large outdoor seating area or upstairs to the terrace ( PS: if your trip to Goa is a little later in the year, you can also jam to your favourite tunes at the cute Japanese-styled indoor Karaoke room coming up soon). Despite the contrasting settings, both the indoor and outdoor seating areas shared a common attribute—impeccable service and delicious food.
The kitchen at Roboto is helmed by the talented, chef Oishik Neogy, who previously worked at Phu Quoc in Vietnam and Gaa, a one Michelin Star restaurant based in Bangkok, so you know you're in good hands when it comes to food and drink that is out of this world. The menu sports an assorted variety of options that is sure to cater to any palate, while also being light on your pocket.
You can indulge in a tasty bowl of ramen or savour the different karaage (deep-fried meat dishes) options available. For those who like to try a little bit of everything, the kushiyaki plates (skewered and grilled dishes) and sozai (pre-prepared side and main dishes) are definitely worth exploring. And if you're in a hurry or having trouble deciding what to order from the extensive menu, the bento box options (Japanese tiffin boxes) have got you covered, with a selection of delicious dishes that are perfect for a quick and satisfying meal. With such a diverse range of options available, Roboto is the perfect place to experience the flavours and energy of Japanese and Korean street-food culture.
The cocktails at Roboto draw inspiration from Japanese culture, employing authentic ingredients, such as sake, shochu, and yuzu, as well as more modern and playful elements such as cherry blossom and matcha. Each cocktail is carefully crafted to reflect the minimalist and elegant aesthetic that is central to Japanese culture. The Cherry Blossom Spritz—a refreshing and floral drink that combines cherry brandy, sweet vermouth, mandarin bitters and sparkling wine, and Highball—a classic Japanese cocktail made with whisky and soda—are two standout examples of Japanese-inspired cocktails at Roboto.
The Japanese desserts at Roboto are the perfect end to any meal, incorporating Japanese flavours and techniques with modern twists. The Watermelon & Grapefruit Sashimi Tartlet is an example of this, with the tartlet featuring cured watermelon and charred grapefruit, balanced with the kick of wasabi sabayon and the creaminess of sesame gelato. Another Japanese dessert that is a must-try is the Japanese Cheesecake with Cookie Crumble and Miso Gelato. The cheesecake itself is light and fluffy, with a delicate sweetness, perfectly complementing the salty and earthy flavours of the miso gelato.
Alongside a premium culinary experience at really affordable prices, Roboto is also gearing up to bring fun experiential elements of Japanese and K-culture to Goa. With a bi-monthly screening of popular anime and K-movies, and weekly karaoke nights, this restaurant is definitely high on our recommendations list. So if you are in search of a unique Asian culinary experience, this little chunky robot in a kimono definitely beckons you to head right in and revel in a night of delectable food and drink, all in a comfortable and casual-dining space, with a line-up of fun events, mirroring all the things we love about Goa.
Aayushi is that friend who won’t let you take a bite without capturing it. For her, the easiest but still thoughtful way of making someone feel special is by cooking or getting them their favourite food. Currently, she’s on an expedition to integrate all her favourites: food, social media and marketing, so that you don't miss the hottest spot in town and you know where to eat those crispy and juicy chicken wings.