Just a quick one from me, but good news is there might finally be a reason for Brummies to go to Five Ways and it’s not just for the cinema.
Roftuo, the izakaya-style Japanese restaurant opens soon and they invited a few of us up to take a look before the official opening. Translating as loft in Japanese, Rofuto sits atop of the Park Regis, a new four star hotel which has risen from the ashes of a fairly unloved mixed use development (I say unloved, really there are huge swathes of Brummies who have a bit of affection for some of the dodgy nightclubs that used to be there).
I don’t want to write too much, because I think trying to get an idea of a bar and restaurant on a preview night is a little unfair, but on first impressions Rofuto should be a much welcomed addition to the city’s food and drink scene – and not just for the people stopping over at the hotel. With a £3 million investment, renowned restaurateur Des McDonald and interior designers Tibbatts Abel have clearly put the money to good use. The venue feels fresh, modern and with a contemporary hint to its Japanese theme without feeling kitsch – and the expansive windows giving a great view of the city will make it a great spot for dining.
I’m going back in just over a week to try out a full meal, so I think it’s only fair to leave most of the talk of the food until then – but of the samples I tried, I’m really looking forward to it. Of particular note, and I’m saying this more as a reminder to myself to order them again, were the fried chicken and black cod. And trust me, I really like fried chicken, so it has to be good.
Yet, whilst I’d expect a restaurant with that much investment on top of a four star hotel to be able to pull a set of good dishes out of its kitchen on a preview night, I think the real highlight for me were the drinks. Birmingham’s cocktail scene is on a massive up at rather than placate with sickly sweet drinks as has been the case in some places, Rofuto has the confidence to create a menu of drinks which don’t overcomplicate themselves. Some will tell you a good cocktail keeps things simple and Rofuto’s signature drink, the Ronin Out of Time does just this; a nod to the Manhattan, it uses Nikka from the Barrel Japanese whisky, plum sake and bitters, and works wonderfully.
It’s not the cheapest of places but of what I’ve seen of the execution of the food and drinks, plus that view, it’s definitely worth a try. I’ll report back again when I’ve been a second time…because I’m good like that.
Disclosure: It’s a preview night, invite only…of course the drinks and nibbles were complimentary. Also, I’ve spent the entire of writing this up with Muse’s Time Is Running Out in my head, so thanks for that.