We’ve watched with interest as the monstrosity that was Auchinleck House on Five Ways has been beautified in to the new Park Regis hotel and Rofuto Japanese restaurant and Kurabu bar. It is now open, and I’m fairly confident its gorgeous bar and restaurant on the top floor will soon be heaving with those in the foodie know in Birmingham. The triple height glazed bar is a perfect place to watch day turn to night after work and look upon the city as it lights up. The décor is refined and brings to mind bars we’ve visited in cool cities globally, and the drinks offering is certainly up there with them too.
The Japanese flavours are obvious in the drinks menu. You can get a good selection of wines, and Champagne, but you can also get Japanese lagers including Kirin Ichiban, Asahi, Sapporo, as well as Hitachino Nest White Ale and Red Rice Ale (all about a fiver a pint). The cocktail list is also themed with tasty Eastern ingredients. The Oriental Fizzu was cool and refreshing and packed a yuzu and kumquat hit. We also enjoyed the sharp Sakerinha, sake with wonderful passion fruit and grapefruit, and a perfectly perfumed slightly sweeter Lychee Martini. Cocktails are around £9. We also tried some really plummy sake.
Attention to detail is obvious here, with concrete ceilings and pillars imprinted with a natural watery detail, subdued lighting, low music, perfectly aligned high design furniture, and immaculately dressed staff.
I’m not hugely knowledgeable about Japanese food despite eating fairly regularly at Yakinori, one of our everyday favourites that provides us with filling sushi, noodles, and our favourite katsu curry. Rofuto is a different type of offering. It’s not somewhere to pop in for a bite to eat while you’re rushing home, it’s a grown-up type of place, where you’d take your time over a romantic dinner, and then while away a couple of hours with cocktails.
The menu is split between sushi and sashimi, starters, and mains. There’s nothing prettier than well presented sushi, and nothing tastier either, and Rofuto’s did not disappoint. To start we tried some crab sushi rolls and shared “Japanese Fish and Chips” (£12). Firm fleshy bright white scabbardfish was covered in a crispy herby batter and served with a tartare sauce with a mild passion fruit flavour, cassava crisps, and buttery mushy peas. Not sure how Japanese it was, but it was certainly tasty. There was plenty there to share for two and I’d recommend it.
For my main I had sesame tuna Tataki with soft shell crab and black garlic (£20). Decorated with lotus root crisps and dots of black garlic, it was a very attractive dish. Chunks of seared tuna were set off with black sesame seed. The soft shell crab was served in a casing of light tempura and had a strong crab flavour. A pretty and tasty dish. I also had a side of broccoli (£4.50). Our other main was Black Angus beef fillet, garlic ponzu, and truffle (£22). The beef had great flavour and was very tender.
With a cocktail, wine, and three courses, dinner will set you back around £60 a head I reckon. The quality of the food and service is very good, and the setting is excellent. The design aesthetic is effortlessly carried from the furniture and building, to the drinks and food, it really is a lovely place to dine. One to watch over the coming months…
Note that this was, unusually for us, a complimentary dinner, but I couldn’t wait to get here! See our reciprocity promise here.