Review: Roba Bar and Restaurant, Paddington
Style Points: 3/5
When I heard that new British fusion restaurant and bar Roba was located in Paddington, I immediately tried to place the location amidst all the Bed and Breakfasts found so widely there. On arrival, it was revealed to me that Roba was actually joined to a hotel, which didn't bring joy to my heart however I needn't have worried.
The appearance of the restaurant is modern with a fabulous looking bar. Unfortunately when we arrived Roba was entirely empty which is never promising for a good atmosphere but it slowly filled with both people from the hotel and outside. I also spotted restaurant and tv critic Grace Dent on the table next to me so I have now learnt never to judge a hotel restaurant too quickly.
Would I Want Seconds?
Since visiting Roba the menu has changed, but when we dined there we were offered an amuse bouche to begin with consisting of cheese and sun dried tomato popcorn which was very tasty and different from other popcorn currently being sold.
For my starter I chose the wild mushrooms, sourdough bread and poached egg and my vegetarian companion had the sweet potato fries with BBQ mayo dip. We both thought this an odd starter but who can turn down those sweet crisp fries? My dish was lovely with a wide assortment of flavoursome mushrooms and a well cooked egg. It was just the sort of thing I would try to make at home but not succeed like Roba did. The fries were a little too salty but the dip was delicious.
The speciality at Roba are it's meats as they are cooked on a special Robata Grill creating a smokey flavour. Luckily for us, Roba also served up vegetarian options too. For our mains, I opted for the four cheese tortellini with butter sage sauce (the waitress reassured me that the cheeses were vegetarian) and my companion had the vegetable lasagne. Both pasta dishes were satisfying and we were starting to get quite full.
For dessert we ordered the beautiful dark chocolate cylinder with salted caramel mousse and the homely blackberry crumble. The chocolate dish was exquisite and equally scrummy. I expected it to taste more chocolatey but the main part of the dish was the salted caramel which was perfect. The crumble was also much enjoyed although we were baffled but not perturbed by it being served on a square wooden tray.
Could I Afford Seconds?
The new menus at Roba are very reasonable with a 3 course dinner coming in at £23.95. They also offer a lunch deal and afternoon tea at very good prices.
I enjoyed Roba for quite a few reasons. The first being the staff and their passion for the food they were serving. I felt that they were proud of what was in front of us and were pleased to tell us about the efforts to create the best flavour combinations possible.
The second was how good the food was. I half expected a boring hotel dinner but I was wrong. I could see how hard Roba have tried to up their game for where they are and it paid off. The only thing that Roba lacked for me was a good buzzy atmosphere however on my visit it had only been open a couple of weeks so this will hopefully build with time.
Also, the menu change does mean the amount of vegetarian options has decreased. Although I would certainly say that the next time you end up in Paddington/Edgware Road area I would recommend a trip to Roba for carefully considered and lovingly cooked food.
Reviewed by Guest Writer Veggie Eats London
Address: 34 Norfolk Pl, London W2 1QW
Tube: Paddington / Edgware Road