White Robata Review: Kuwait’s best restaurant arrives in Riyadh

White Robata Review: Kuwait’s best restaurant arrives in Riyadh



The Kuwait outpost is currently ranked no 42 on MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants.

It’s been a stellar year for the dining scene in the Middle East. MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants have been unveiled, and White Robata is placed at no 42, making it the highest-ranked restaurant in Kuwait. The Japanese restaurant offers a progressive robata experience and has recently opened in Riyadh’s Laysen Valley.

White Robata in Riyadh boasts a polished yet playful design. The interior includes grey seats, wooden tables, dramatic archways and dim lighting. Counter seats are available, which overlook the open kitchen where diners can watch the chefs hard at work as grills sizzle away. Look out for fun Grendizer anime figures, which stand proud at the entranceway and on the bar and add a touch of nostalgia. Fun fact: Saudi Arabia will feature in the new series of the popular anime, which returns 40 years after the original aired. Plus, there are potted plants, which add a touch of colour. 

White Robata

All seats have a clear view of the flame-licked robata while the undulating wooden ceiling contorts across the curvature of the building encasing guests in the intimate dining room. As night falls, the flames light up the room casting shadows and illuminations across the space which is further enhanced by a soundtrack of ambient percussion.

Having proven popular in Kuwait, White Robata opens in Riyadh with some new menu additions. The trapezoid-shaped menu evokes a natural feel as if it has been etched in slate and offers an expansive selection of raw rolls, graze and robata dishes. Great for groups, each dish is superb for sharing, carefully curated and presented artistically.

White Robata
Spicy Salmon Crispy Rice

We begin with a crunchy Grilled Corn Salad, which offers a textural treat of rucola, tortilla strips, Thai chill, and an alluring togarashi lime maple dressing before moving on to the raw dishes. The sushi, sashimi and nigiri is where White Robata really excels. The Seabream Ceviche (SAR 80) combines the delicate fish with coconut milk, corn and crisp quinoa into one refreshing plate, while the Pacific Roll (SAR 80) spicy rock shrimp with mango, avocado, toasted coconut and fiery chilli mayo. The Hamachi Usuzukuri (SAR 85) had the FACT team reaching for the chopsticks, thanks to a powerful combination of thinly sliced yellowtail served in a sweet passion fruit ponzu with a fiery jalapeño relish. If you’re looking to savour the flavours of Japan, then this dish is it. 

White Robata
Lobster Fried Rice

The skilled chefs and charismatic staff are dressed in kimono-style tunics complete with Japanese-inspired headbands and present each dish to the table with storytelling and finesse. From a Wagyu Nigiri (SAR 90) torched tableside and topped with truffle to a dainty block of Spicy Salmon Crispy Rice (SAR 50) served with scallion ponzu.

With the robata fired up, we devour a plump Grilled Tiger Shrimp (SAR 170), which is slightly spicy and served on a tabletop barbecue alongside a robust tobanjan glaze. A beautiful piece of flame-kissed Seabass (SAR 200) arrives amidst charred fennel salad and chilli citrus dressing yet it’s the Black Angus Tenderloin (SAR 260) cooked to a perfect medium rare temperature and served with an addictive chilli honey soy glaze (SAR 260) that had this Editor-in-Chief fighting for the last slice. Paired with Lobster Fried Rice (SAR 200), which combines the crustacean with barley miso and lobster bisque, before juicy bone marrow is added to the mix. Peak decadence. 

White Robata Dessert

Desserts are Insta-worthy and range from a Sous Vide Apple Pecan Crumble (SAR 75) and Matcha Creme Brûlée (SAR 95) to a beautiful Black Sesame Soft Serve (SAR 85) presented in a matcha cone and drizzled in White Chocolate Sauce. However, it was the Valrhona Chocolate Fondant (SAR 80) that had us enamoured, thanks to a sprinkling of smoked salt and a sweet dulce de leche ice cream which is placed inside the gooey centre of this sweet treat.

White Robata is in good company in Laysen Valley. It joins French restaurant Bagatelle, Japanese favourite Sumosan and twisted Lebanese eatery MLLE in a location that combines Najd architecture with a splash of modern pizzazz. Experience the finest. 

GO: Visit www.whiterobata.com for more information.