Ask me where to go for good food in Birmingham and - I’m sure you’ll agree – Broad Street isn’t the first place that springs to mind. It’s more hen party than chef de partie; full of Sports bars, not Michelin stars. So at first glance, it seems like an odd place to stick a swish Japanese restaurant. But trust me on this one because located on the 16 th floor of the Park Regis hotel is Rofuto, a rooftop bar and restaurant blessed with some of the best panoramic views around.
The Venue and Atmosphere
A sleek, industrial décor gives Rofuto a cool, upmarket feel, unsurprising given the cool £3 million spent on fitting out the restaurant. Pale wooden tables line the edges of the restaurant to make full use of those views, whilst the bar - lined on all sides with plush orange bar stools and funky light features - takes centre stage to give cocktail-shaped proceedings some theatre. If you’re into watching your dinner being cooked (I am very much into it) there’s also a huge open kitchen at the back of the restaurant.
Its unique position next to Fiveways means that you not only get sweeping views of the city centre, but also as far out as Moseley and Edgbaston; trying to locate your house is positively encouraged. I have to say Birmingham, you look pretty damn good from up here.
The Food and Drink
Rofuto has just launched a brand new menu, moving from a Japanese focus to a more Pan-Asian style which flits around the continent to offer everything from sushi to bao. I like this new approach; it gives Rofuto a broader appeal, and gives me more reasons to return.
We start with Pork Crackling (£3.50), the trio of Bao Buns (£10.50) and Sesame Chicken Yakitori (£7). The acidic hit of the Yuzu Kosho dip is brilliant against the rich, salty crackling, adding an interesting twist to a classic pub snack whilst the chicken is an old menu favourite that has rightfully made it onto the new menu; tender chunks of meat are coated in a sweet and sticky Teriyaki sauce and topped with crispy leek to add texture. I adore bao but here they were a low point, flat and needing a bit more of something – anything – to lift them beyond blandness. Following swiftly after come our mains – Crispy Suckling Pork Belly (£16) and Korean Spiced Red Pepper Lamb Chops (£21). The pork crackling and Yuzu Kosho make a welcome return atop the pork belly dish, alongside pak choi and a butternut squash puree. It’s a triumph of flavour and texture, as are the lamb chops - perfectly cooked to a slight pinkness with none of the chewiness that can appear in the hands of lesser chefs. On the side come Kimchi Sweet Potato Fries (£4) which I immediately declare the “best sweet potato fries in Birmingham”. And I promise that wasn’t the cocktails talking; the dusting of kimchi powder kicks these up a level and makes them completely addictive.
We end the night with more yuzu, this time joining passionfruit in the form of a cheesecake (£6.50). It' picture perfect, adorned with edible flowers and sugarwork, but doesn't excite us that much. A different story is the Sakura Dark Chocolate Fondant (£7). This thing is the bomb - literally bursting with a perfectly oozy chocolate and cherry centre - and perfectly accompanied by cherry sorbet and fizzy sherbert. I eat a LOT of dessert, and this is up there as one of the best I've had in recent months. Even my chocolate-dessert-hating boyfriend is jealous.
Rofuto have also expanded their cocktail offering, which is obviously a good thing, right? New additions include the Eastern Medicine (single malt whisky, honey, ginger, lemon), which packs a massive punch and will almost definitely cure any illness you have, and the Five Ways Sunset (gin, lime, ginger, guava) which is a more laid back affair.
I love eating at Rofuto, and I was really impressed by (almost) all of the new menu items; the variety and quality is very good and there are some real stand out dishes. It can be a little on the pricey side - mains range from £14 to an eye-watering £45 - but it’s a beautiful dining space; if you’re looking to impress, go in the evening when Birmingham is all pretty and lit up, and thank me later.