Posted on Monday, 6th January 2014
Flesh and Buns is the latest Izakaya restaurant by the people from Bone Daddies, the successful ramen restaurant founded by chef Ross Shonhan who previously worked at Nobu and Zuma. The concept of Flesh and Buns centres around hirata buns, folded steamed buns commonly filled with pork. Here, you have a choice of different fillings, all of which are accompanied by salad, a sauce and pickles. You create your own buns here, filling them however you wish. And as a precursor to the buns, there are also a choice of raw dishes, snacks and small dishes.
Flesh and Buns has a common appeal. Not only is its concept of ‘flesh and buns’ original, the décor is funky and appealing with a buzzy vibe. The centrepiece of the restaurant is a long sharing table, and circling the table are cozy booth seats and round tables.
We kicked off with a tuna tataki with grapefruit, dry miso, coriander (£10) which was truly lovely. The tuna was fresh, the use of dry miso added depth, and the coriander provided a fresh fragrance to the dish. There were also little beads of dried rice which gave the dish a crunchy finish.
Prawn tempura with yuzu ponzu (£12) was meaty, deliciously sweet and firm. The batter was crispy as well, although not light or airy enough to be considered authentic Japanese tempura batter. The yuzu ponzu was wonderfully zingy and worked well with the prawns.
A mixed seafood ceviche with citrus, chilli, cucumber (£7.50) contained a combination of salmon, tuna and prawns. The seafood was fresh but tasted a little grainy, and greater use of oilier fish might have worked better. The citrus flavour coming through the marinade was a little strong, but the chilli worked well. There was also some baby corn thrown in which was a nice touch.
From the Flesh and Buns section we went for a crispy piglet belly (£14.50) with mustard miso and pickled apple. The pork was tasty and tender although a little under seasoned. The skin was great though as it was super crispy, and the miso and apple made a great match for the pork.
The ‘Bone Daddies home made buns’ (two for £2.50) were really good – light, fluffy and authentic. Flesh and Buns recommends that you have two buns each, but we found that one each was enough.
The desserts were really outstanding. We loved the Bone Daddies Sundae (£7) which came with a superb matcha ice cream, fresh blueberries and jelly and lavishly topped with lots of cream. The flavour sensation coming through from the mixture of flavours was heavenly, and there was a crunchy honeycomb topping to boot.
A yuzu meringue pie (£7) with raspberry and yuzu sorbets, a crunchy biscuit base and meringue discs was really scrumptious. The sorbets were heavenly and tangy, and the buttery crunchiness of the biscuit base completed this moreish dessert.
We enjoyed the food, and with a few more tweaks the savoury courses could have been amazing. But it was the desserts that stole the show as they were nothing short of thrilling. The service was also pleasant and charmingly relaxed, but a little forgetful as they failed to deliver one of our small plates.
Food rating: 4/5
Service rating: 3.5/5
Flesh and Buns recommends about 5 plates to share. About £26 to £42 per person, excludes drinks and service.