Last week my partner and I were dining at Rofuto, Birmingham’s latest restaurant opening. For me it brought back very fond memories of Nobu, Hakkasan and Pearl and I have loved those delicate Asian flavours and beautifully presented dishes ever since.
From the noisy, urban entrance at Five Ways you are whisked up to the 16th floor for a more serene setting. Flooded with light, the dining room has an open kitchen at one end, a circular bar in the middle and well spaced tables. Light ash tables, wooden pendant lights and purple backlit cabinets for the sake make an attractive and unobtrusive design.
Our waitress Jo was attentive, knew the detail of the dishes and did not show any impatience when she had to come back twice to take our order due to our indecisiveness. There were simply too many good dishes to choose from.
On sushi, sashimi, starters, Robato grill, mains and desserts there is a very good range of choices showcasing both familiar and unusual Japanese ingredients. Fish and seafood are definitely the star attractions of the menu. Eel, sea urchin, soft shell crab, salmon, mackerel , halibut – and a favourite of many high-end Japanese restaurants – the black miso cod are all crowd pleasers. Cut with forensic precision, my slivers of yellow fin tuna sashimi melted on the tongue perfectly.
I couldn’t tempt my convive with some fish, as he was already sold on sesame chicken yakitori from the robata grill and crispy chicken with kimchi. He raved about the perfectly seasoned chicken.
I almost regretted not choosing the Japanese style fish and chips, when I saw them brought to Paul Fulford’s table. This envy vanished when my soft shell crab tempura arrived. The slivers of sweet crab meat dipped in translucent batter were ace and the crispy fried noodles on top a fun addition. Even the garnishes are intriguing, the dinky white triangle in the photo is a type of radish.
Halibut, Champagne yuzu miso (a sauce rather than a broth or soup) on pak choi as my main was elegant and delicious. A stand out dish for me, as the firm fish had only slightly absorbed the amazing miso. Top tip – ask for a spoon as you won’t want to leave a drop of this sauce.
My partner could not fault the succulent Black Angus fillet, with slivers of Gobu crisps, garlic ponzu and truffle. Despite the menu offering a selection of small plates to share, the only one we managed to agree on was a moreish bowl of sticky and rich duck fried rice. Each dish arrives on its own distinct plate, no gimmicky vessels or boards here thank goodness.
Drinks wise a bottle of Gewürztraminer and Kirin beer were good matches for our food. I also happily sipped through two vodka based cocktails a Melon Fizz and Midnight Geisha and we tried some sake too.
It won’t be long before we are back, as the saffron black miso cod, razor clams and pancetta is calling me and my partner is curious about the garlic yuzo kosho lamb chops .
With two starters and a main course each, you can easily spend £50 a head just on food. However, the best Japanese food is extremely fresh and designed to please the eye as much as the palate, so for that level of sensory pleasure Rofuto is worth it.
*I was invited to review Rofuto by Neil Reading PR and received a complimentary meal.