CUISINE / RESTAURANT REVIEWS Fusion Izakaya Japanese Richmond

Soul Robata & Izakaya 魂

Update: This restaurant is now closed.

Soul Robata & Izakaya exterior

Fannypack and I met up with the gang on Sunday for dinner to catch up.  W chose the place and she chose Soul Robata & Izakaya on Alexandra Road.  As it was a Sunday I was weary of parking there, so I got Boyfriend to drop me off.  That proved to be a smart choice.

Soul Robata & Izakaya interior

I expected the place to be dark like most other Izakayas.  However there were large windows that allowed lots of natural light in.  Otherwise, it was decorated like any other Japanese tapas restaurant.

Also like most Izakayas, they have a specials menu in addition to their regular everyday menu.

As usual, we each picked something and as usual, Fannypack didn’t pick anything.

Soul Robata & Izakaya: Deep-fried Scallops

First to arrive was the Deep-fried Scallops.  Personally, I wouldn’t have ordered this as my opinion was that particularly at a Japanese restaurant, that either scallops be eaten fresh as sashimi (they’re so sweet), or not at all.  Especially not deep-fried, ‘cuz then you KNOW it’s not fresh stuff.

As expected, I found them dry and flavorless.  There was way too much batter and the okonomi-sauce really took away any other flavors that could’ve been there.

Soul Robata & Izakaya: Shrimp Samosas

Then came the Shrimp Samosas.  Weird choice huh?  Well, in Chinese it led W to believe them to be like gyozas.  Obviously when it arrived we realized they weren’t.  However, even if they were gyozas, I wouldn’t have ordered them too.  I wouldn’t even order gyozas at AYCE.

Honestly, there’s nothing special about this either.  You could probably get them at a dim sum place.

Soul Robata & Izakaya: Sweet Prawn & Triple Delight sashimi-Salmon, Hamachi, and Sea Bass

Our sashimi platter (the Triple Delight) came third, which was weird since you would expect sashimi to come first.

The Triple Delight consisted of Salmon, Hamachi and Sea Bass.  I was only interested in the Sea Bass as I’ve never had that before.  It was really good.  It had a slightly crunchy texture that rivals squid (none of the stickiness though), and was really fresh.  It was kind of thin though, not sure if that’s how it’s supposed to be or just stinginess.  I would order Sea Bass by itself again.

Also on the plate was the additional Sweet Prawn sashimi I ordered.  They were on special for $2 per piece, and they deep-fry the heads for you too, which was the best part.  I think everyone enjoyed it.

Soul Robata & Izakaya: Deep-fried Prawn Heads

Here they are!  Beauties.  Fannypack and I ate the whole head, while the others left some parts of it, while M left basically the whole thing.  She claimed she ate some of the front “whiskers”, but it didn’t look so to me.  What a waste.

The sashimi part though were big enough to satisfy me.  Could be a bit more sweeter though.  But it was cheap so I was happy.

Soul Robata & Izakaya: Seafood Okonomiyaki

Next was the Seafood Okonomiyaki.  This was surprisingly good.  There were lots of seafood in it, not filled with cabbage like some other places.  I really enjoyed this.

Soul Robata & Izakaya: Kinoki Beef Yakiudon

Lastly was the Kinoki Beef Yakiudon, which was VERY, VERY buttery.  There were quite a bit of mushrooms and the udon was very chewy and nice.  But the sauce was VERY VERY BUTTERY.  Perhaps not very good for your health.  It was great.

Soul Robata & Izakaya: bill

In total we paid about $14 per person.  I would probably come back for the sashimi as they seemed fresh.

A gripe was the waitress kept trying to get us to order more sashimi.  When our yakiudon hasn’t arrived for a long time, we asked her to check up on it, and she suggested that we get more sashimi in the meantime.  Not good.

Another thing, I’m pretty sure this is Chinese-owned, since the waitress spoke Cantonese.  From experience, Japanese-owned places tend to hire Japanese people to show their authenticity.  People seem to like those more too.  Having said that, there were still quite a bit of customers that night.

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