The team behind Bone Daddies, Soho’s favourite ramen hotspot, opened Flesh & Buns in Covent Garden last year. I had wanted to go since day one, but fate seemed to continuously intervene. As the designated foodie, it’s always insisted that I choose the restaurant. Thus, dining at Flesh & Buns should’ve been a simple one to check off the list. Yet, several dates, meet ups and catch ups planned around dining at this particular establishment, always seemed to fall through.
Fast forward to a new year, back in London from the States, and outside Flesh & Buns. My date and I scurried in from the cold, down the stairs, under the projected anime cartoons and into the restaurant. The layout is informal, taking inspiration from Japanese izakayas, with tables, booths and a long, high top running down the middle of the room between the bar and open kitchen.
The venue certainly continues London’s Rock & Roll restaurant theme, yet was considerably brighter and whiter than I expected. The name is derived from the highlight of the menu, flesh and buns. Flesh being different types of meat, including 28 day dry aged ribeye, lamb chops, grilled sea bass and young chicken. Buns being the Chinese Hirata buns which have become something of a food trend in London over the last year, and I can certainly see why. Pillowy, chewy, sweet vehicles of deliciousness, gently escorting tender, flavourful ingredients into my mouth.
But first, starters.
We kicked off the night with Chips & Dips.
The American in me excepting a bowl of tortilla chips with a fresh, chunky salsa felt confused as to why this would be served in a ‘Japanese’ restaurant. But such confusion was slightly pacified upon the arrival of large, fried rice crackers. Accompanying this, a bowl of guacamole and jalapeño salsa. Let the confusion be ignored as this was delicious, light, and incredibly moreish. Whenever I spot yellowtail sashimi on a menu, I have to order it. It has yet to fail to please and I love seeing the different ingredients used to enhance one of my favourite pieces of fish. The Flesh & Buns version involved an incredibly flavourful combination of lime soy, green chilli and granita.
Regrettably this had to be shared. Although, I considering sneaking an extra piece whilst he was distracted with the arrival of his miso soup.
Onto the main event. This is what a happy foodie looks like – pre feast We settled on the crispy duck leg with sour plum soy and beetroot pickle, which was forked apart table side into bun-size pieces. (see what I did there? instead of bite-size?) The meat was a little salty, but evened out with the bite from pickled beetroot. The duck was good, but the crispy piglet belly with mustard miso and pickled apple was on a completely different level. Tender, soft meat with a slight crunch from the crispy crackling paired perfectly with sour pickled apple and a mustard miso sauce.
This, I could’ve eaten all over again. Twice.
Last, but so obviously not least, the sweet stuff.
S’mores with marshmallows, biscuits and green tea chocolate For years I’ve talked about doing s’mores as a dessert in one of my (future) restaurants. When Flesh & Buns first opened its doors last year, the concept sounded fun and enticing, but damnit, I then discovered they stole my idea!
Now, I don’t actually believe the Bone Daddies boys sat around listening to my countless food conversations, plotting how to steal my plans. But, I knew I had to see how they executed such a classic American dessert. A little Japanese fire pit arrives along with green tea chocolate, marshmallows and two biscuits each, to sandwich your s’more.
Take your marshmallow, and after gently toasting, or violently setting aflame as the method my date chose to take, then smush (technical term) it between your two biscuits and piece of chocolate. The heat from the marshmallow will melt the chocolate creating a gooey, delicious sandwich. As if the s’mores weren’t enough, we plumped for the Kinako donuts with black sugar custard.
These, are not a thing of elegance.
One bite left the custard running down my face. Although not as visually exciting as the s’mores, they are however, competitors in the flavour department. Thick, sugar coated balls of dough each filled with a sweet, warm custard. Pure decadence and a fantastic end to an amazing meal. It took me absolutely ages to get around to going to Flesh & Buns and for those that are letting it continue to linger on your list, go!
Promise me you’ll order the s’mores?
Oh! And be sure to go wash your hands in the bathroom for some surprise, um, adult humour on the walls.