Flesh & Buns Covent Garden
41 Earlham St, London WC2H 9LX
020 7632 9500/http://www.fleshandbuns.com
In a bare industrial basement near Covent Garden’s Seven Dials is Ross Shohan’s latest restaurant Flesh & Buns. Shohan was head chef at Nobu and more recently opened Bone Daddies, Soho’s hippest Ramen joint (Japanese noodles for the uninitiated)-but his new place specialises in Hirata. …OK don’t all put your hands up at once…Hirata are Taiwanese buns which you stuff with some salad, some meat or fish and some sauce. And that’s about that for the mains.
There is a mix of starters the highlight being a beautifully cooked soft shell crab in a tempura batter, served with a wasabi mayonnaise (£9.50).
Squid came with a dry panko style breadcrumb coating and was mildly spiced with a Japanese pepper seasoning (£8). This was a less exciting option.
So with Hirata the idea is to split and then stuff your two buns with lettuce, your choice of protein and then whatever sauce is provided. The bun is a light puff of dough which Chinatown bun aficionados would be familiar with.
Sole with a lemon mayo and pickled daikon (£14) came deep fried and in the process the subtlety of the fish was lost. Something more robust like mackerel, smoked eel or red mullet might be more suitable as a fish option.
The Pork belly (£15) was the more traditional Hirata filling with the flesh being suitably melting and the pickled apple sauce matching perfectly. I have to say that pork Hirata had something of the hog roast at the village fete about it (a Taiwanese village of course)…
There is a decent if small sake list-we drank a gentle Masumi sake (£7 for 125 ml) served rather dramatically into a wooden box until the cup verily ranneth over…
Flesh & Buns will give you a fun evening out with its loud rock’n roll soundtrack and youthful clientele but for The Hedonist it doesn’t have the atmosphere of Bone Daddies and despite some critics’ protestations the food isn’t quite as dirty/sexy as it would like to be.
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