Tuesday 14 June 2016

Food Review: Gluten Free Dining at Rofuto, Park Regis

Birmingham can be a city which buzzes with excitement, whether it's a new bar, club or restaurant, the last few years have seen the city social scene flourish.

Nowhere has generated quite as much buzz as the new Rofuto restaurant located in Park Regis at Five Ways, Birmingham.

Creating the kind of luxe, cosmopolitan, New York loft-style restaurant experience that you'd expect to find in the capital alone, Rofuto is breaking the mould.

A modern, izakaya-style restaurant, Rofuto serves up Japanese dishes such as sushi, sashimi, yakitori and tempura.


Our experience began at the ground floor entrance, where we were escorted up to the sixteenth floor via the express lift. From here, we were greeted and seated at the window in the skyline bar, where beneath us was the wonder that is Five-Ways island. Feeling very Lost in Translation, we ordered cocktails to start, a Midnight Geisha for me and Ronin out of Time for my companion. My drink was divine, fruity, infused with raspberries and too easily drinkable.

After savouring the panoramic views and taking the obligatory cocktail shot, it was time to savour the food.

We were led to the main restaurant, a large space with excellent views also. I particularly liked the central bar area, which made the space feel open and friendly, as all too often the bar is hidden away. At the far end is the open restaurant, where the displays of fire and speedy slicing are as captivating as the views below.


The tables were laid out ready with the kind of perfect symmetry than reminds you of a Buddhist temple, complete with perfect right angles and starched napkins. I for one couldn't resist the offer of sake, the traditional Japanese rice wine. From our waiter we learnt that you should never serve yourself, and that it is custom to pour using two hands. If you're taking your boss out for dinner, take note, you should serve them!

In a moment of spontaneity, we asked to be surprised and let our waiter choose our dishes for us. All of the dishes we ate were gluten free, with the exception of one dessert, so that we could both enjoy the food.

To start, we were served sashimi tuna and salmon on a plate of ice. Fleshy and buttery, this was incredibly fresh and gave us an appetite for more.

Next, we tried the Cherry Smoked Salmon with Citrus Salt from the Robato Grill (£8.50) along with the Asparagus Kushiyaki, Butter Soy (£7.50). The salmon arrived on skewer and were a curiously dark pink colour from the smoking process. Heavy with salt flakes, this was a completely different taste to the sashimi. The asparagus was crisp, fresh and chargrilled.

Onto the next round, we tried the Beef Sirloin, Gobo Crisps,  Garlic Ponzu, Truffle Black Angus. This was the priciest dish we tried at £22 so something of a treat. The beef was incredibly cooked, simply seared on the outside and silky soft inside. I adored the crispy Gobo crisps and could eat these as a pre-dinner nibble. The addition of the garlic ponzu and truffle black Angus was just a bite of salty, divine food heaven, bringing flavours to the table that you would be hard pushed to find elsewhere. This arrived with an Asian slaw that was filled with mango, garlic, carrot, pepper, ginger and spring onion, that was fresh and light.

Sadly, it was time for dessert all too soon. My companion had the Matcha Green Tea Tiramisu and I had the Cardamon, Coconut and Passion Fruit Panna Cotta. The Tiramisu was a rich and creamy, and my Panna Cotta was balanced with not too unusual flavours.


Rofuto brings a cosmopolitan dining experience to Birmingham. Whilst the big smoke is full to bursting with Japanese style restaurants, from Sexy Fish to Roka, it's high time that we were given the same choice in the second city. This style of dining is new to the city, and exactly right for the time and place. It elevates the dining scene to new heights, quite literally, and I'm certain that others will follow now Rofuto has forged a path.

Even though I've just visited, I'm salivating at the thought of going back to try the Miso Black Cod, Scallops and Beef Kushiyaki. Next time, I'll savour the savoury dishes and replace dessert with an after dinner cocktail instead.

Rofuto Gluten-Free Menu

I was kindly provided with the full gluten free menu before I dined, so for those of you gluten free diners in Birmingham thinking of visiting, check out the menu below to pre-pick your meal. As always, I'd recommend checking with your waiter before ordering in case of any changes.

All sashimi
All nigiri
Crab, Sea urchin and Tobiko Gunkan
Sea urchin and Ikura Gunkan
Fois Gras, Nashi Pear and Truffle Gunkan Colchester Oyster Nambanzuke

Maki Rolls
Rofuto Futomaki
Vegetarian Futomaki
Cucumber Hossomaki
Okra Hossomaki

Salted Edamame
Seared Scallops
Kaiso Salad
Grilled Octopus, Rocket and Pine Nut Salad

Asparagus Kushiyaki
Cherry Smoked Salmon

Wagyu Beef, Gobo Crisps, Truffle
Black Angus Beef, Gobo Crisps, Truffle Sesame Tuna Tataki, Black Garlic

Rohan Rice
Tenderstem Broccoli
Asian Slaw

Passion fruit and Cardamom Panna Cotta 
Robata Pineapple, Yuzu Sorbet
Kisetsu Fruit salad

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