If you’ve been oblivious to the recent buzz around the newly opened Rofuto then where have you been? This brand new restaurant at the top of Park Regis hotel on Five Ways has had us Birmingham foodies talking, mainly due to a cracking preview cocktail party a few weeks ago. I was very happy to be invited back to try the full dining experience at this Japanese restaurant, and I certainly wasn’t wrong for getting excited. It’s not very often I get to say the word ‘faultless’ on this blog, but I think I just said it?
Rofuto is an incredibly stylish skyline restaurant – the decor and atmosphere oozes class without being intimidating or pretentious – the down-to-earth service makes sure of that. We were looked after by Jack for the evening, who was great at recommending dishes from the menu and explaining anything we weren’t sure of. Despite not being well-versed in Japanese food, we were never made to feel as if we should simply know things, which isn’t the case everywhere! Rofuto is based on Izakaya-style dining, meaning the menu is mostly made up of smaller dishes designed for sharing.
We started the evening off with a cocktail each. Jack (my Jack, not our server, that would be weird…) went for a Ronin Out of Time, one of the cocktails that had been on offer at the preview party and that I assured him he had to try – perfect for whisky lovers. I opted for one I hadn’t tried before, the Midnight Geisha. This was a fruity short drink made with chambord – it was perfectly balanced and wasn’t too sweet. During the rest of the evening we sipped on sake (a Japenese rice wine) and Reisling, both going perfectly with the mainly seafood based meal.
We begun the food courses with a plate of sushi, some of which we chose ourselves and other kinds that had been recommended to us. Every mouthful was absolutely gorgeous, in particular the pickled mackerel and the wonderfully fresh tasting spicy tuna futomaki were beautiful. The sushi was served with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce, and it was all crafted perfectly so that it never threatened to fall apart when eaten with chop-sticks.
Next up we had the cherry smoked salmon and the tiger prawn tempura. The prawns were crispy and light, and there was a generous serving of these. The cherry smoked salmon was one of my favourite dishes, served on skewers with citrus salt, I’ve never tasted salmon like it. If you’re a salmon fan don’t even think about visiting Rofuto without ordering this dish!
We then shared one of the mains from the menu, along with duck egg fried rice and sesame spinach. These sides were both spot on – the spinach, being wet and cold didn’t strike us as something we’d enjoy, but we were pleasantly surprised. The main we had been recommended was the saffron miso black cod, served with razor clams (and usually pancetta). The cod was stunning – full of flavour and a melt in the mouth texture. It was a small portion however, so don’t imagine a ‘main’ will fill you up – make sure you order sides.
Finally (I know right, nearly there), we finished with dessert. For this course we shared a chocolate and banana fondant and a white chocolate martini, served with handmade marshmallows. The fondant was insanely tasty, beautifully presented and, though indulgent, had perfectly subtle flavours. Our server had been regularly coming to check our food was to our liking throughout the evening, but when he came back to see how the dessert was going, we had already devoured it – us being sweet-toothed and also slightly drunk by this point. Speaking of which, the white chocolate martini was right up our street. What was a nice surprise though was that this was a delicate and light drink, rather than creamy, and the hint of white chocolate in this vodka based cocktail was far from sickly.
Overall, we walked away (straight into the Karuba cocktail lounge next door) from Rofuto not being able to fault a single element of the evening. Whether going for a special meal or just for some lunch-time sushi, I cannot reccommend this new restaurant enough (can you tell?). The price-point is by no means cheap, but the overall dining experience at Rofuto offers something pretty special for your money. Thank you to Jack and everyone at Rofuto for having us, we can’t wait to return!
*The food and drink on this evening were complimentary for review purposes. This does not affect my honest opinion.