In a nutshell
Modern izakaya-style restaurant Rofuto is serving up a host of Japanese dishes alongside some of the best 360 views of the Birmingham skyline. But does the food live up to the building?
With his latest venture, renowned restaurateur Des McDonald has brought the concept of the Japanese gastropub to Birmingham – serving high-quality food in a relaxed and informal setting. The move comes after he opened four successful rooftop restaurants in Selfridges and follows a 20-year-long career, that has seen him running some of the world’s most well known venues including The Ivy and Soho House in London.
What’s the room like?
With its open Japanese-style kitchen and eclectic interior, Rofuto, which means ‘loft’ in Japanese, is a space that oozes quality and sophistication. Warm timbers, sleek lines and unique artwork on the walls work together to create a vibrant space, while the separate Kurabu cocktail lounge is the perfect place to enjoy with a view of the city.
The menu, which is divided into six sections, has been created to offer a taste of both traditional and modern Japanese cooking. It includes a wide selection of traditional sushi and sashimi (Hiramasa, Hosomaki and salmon avocado rolls); tempura; and food from the robata grill, such as the popular seasme chicken yakitori. Larger main courses include Champagne halibut; chicken katsu curry served with Japenese pickles; and a trio of noodles dishes.
The izakaya-style service (an izakaya is an informal Japanese gastropub, where food is served as soon as its ready) means that dishes are designed to be shared. And in a nod to its home at Birmingham’s Five Ways, the menu is influenced by the number five – using five colours and five ways of cooking.
Menu must-orders and misfires
Mango soft shell crab sushi is one of Rofuto’s signature dishes and is a must-order – fresh, juicy crab and creamy avocado are wrapped in rice California maki style.
The saffron miso black cod accompanied by razor clams and pancetta is worth the splurge – soft flaky fish alongside salty pancetta is a happy match.
As for dessert, a melt-in-the-mouth ‘two’ chocolate fondant (both milk and dark chocolate) boasts a soft sponge and velvety smooth centre; or if you prefer something lighter, try the refreshing cardamon, coconut and passion fruit panna cotta.
Rofuto’s laidback style makes it a good place for an after-work visit, while the stylish design and views make it equally appropriate for a special occasion. With seriously good Japanese food in an uber trendy setting, it’s certainly one of the best new openings in Birmingham for 2016.
Written by Charlotte Philpotts, May 2015
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