Checking out the new menu at Rofuto


Nibbling on edamame beans and sipping a pleasing glass of off-dry riesling from Washington State, Birmingham stretches below me.

Cranes are everywhere. The lights of cars create strings of sparking beads on the main roads. Tall buildings glow in the distance.
It’s a city on the move. A city with a sense of confidence and direction.

And here, in the Japanese and pan-Asian restaurant Rofuto on the 16th floor of the Park Regis Hotel, I become acutely aware of just how much Birmingham has progressed in the past decade.
Such a restaurant and bar would have been unthinkable a few years ago.
Now, though, it’s adding restrained glitz and sophistication to Birmingham.

True, Rofuto has changed its menu since it opened 18 months ago, making the dishes more affordable and accessible.
But its commitment to high-quality Far Eastern food created with skill and served with style remains at its heart.
The meal I ate there was a delight.

The food

As tempting as the seafood dishes, duck, wagyu beef and other meat dishes were, I stuck to a vegetarian selection.
Partly because that’s a good test of the inventiveness of any kitchen.
Partly because I wanted to scoff healthily since I’ve been eating so badly during the time my kitchen has been out of action.

A platter of vegetarian sushi was very easy on the eye and pleasing to the palate.
These beautifully constructed morsels were varied and mixed savoury, fruity, earthy and sweet notes.
Refreshing pickled ginger and very spicy wasabi added extra zing to the dish.
Afterwards came a bowl of soba noodles with silky smooth tofu and various vegetables.
This dry dish had real savoury depth and contrasting textures.

A bowl of ramen soup with wild mushrooms, asparagus, truffle and a lightly boiled egg was also a success.
These were hearty rather than refined dishes, but still prepared with craft.
Desserts, however, reached exalted heights.
A blushing pink panna cotta was perfectly textured – loose enough to fall apart at the slightest touch of the spoon.
Its hibiscus and mandarin flavours were balanced and enlivening.

A matcha tea tiramisu served with an espresso macaroon was a witty reworking of an Italian classic and was rich and indulgent, with a real whack of coffee.
This was meal that left me feeling satisfied yet unstuffed.

Need to know

It’s possible to construct a meal from small plates such as sushi, dim sum, salads, tempura and skewers, all reasonably priced.
Main courses kick in at £14 and rise to £45 for a Grade 7 Wagyu sirloin.
There’s a short but balanced and well priced wine list, good beers and cocktails.

160 Broad Street, Birmingham B15 1DT. 0121 369 8888.

I ate at Rofuto as a guest of East Village PR.