I have been bemoaning the lack of Japanese food in London for the last 1,121,760 minutes. In New Zealand Japanese food was a weekly occurrence for me, a cheap lunch on the go at St Pierre’s sushi, Friday night dinner at the Saki bar or a post university treat at Renkon. In the UK curry is far more prevalent and while I understand it from a historical, colonial and trade route perspective, it just makes me cry on the inside. Then it all changed, I saw the light, the Phoenix rose from the flames and the Rosetta stone was discovered…I found Flesh and Buns.
On a boring bank holiday weekend, I was stalking twitter and happened to see a retweet from someone saying that if you called and quoted ‘Bunday’ there was 50% off food at Flesh and Buns. Now, I didn’t actually know what type of place Flesh and Buns was, I thought it was just some sort of general meat restaurant, but I had heard the name bantered around so thought I would give it a go.
As soon as I saw the anime screen above the Flesh and Buns door my heart skipped a beat … ITS JAPANESE. So I rocked in and prepared to feast. Since there was a massive discount on food I decided to go a little nuts and try all the things. I started with one of the most delightful drinks I’ve had in a while, a raspberry lime ginger beer. It was zingy and fresh and just tasted like I was sitting in a spring meadow with Doctor Who while kittens played in the wild flowers. Go and try it, you will understand my joy.
Food wise I started with pumpkin tempura and beef tataki. Even though I picked it, I thought that the pumpkin was going to be underwhelming (read here about my angst over UK pumpkins). But it turned it to be a perfectly balanced dish, the pumpkin was a subtle flavour but the seasoning matched it for subtlety and made a dish I scoffed in five minutes flat. What really made it sing was the roast lemon dip that the tempura came with. Have you ever slow roasted a lemon? It get the most intense flavour that is somewhat sweet and somewhat sour, and Flesh and Buns managed to cram all this flavour into one little pot of dip. Magic.
Then the Beef Tataki came along, a dish that normally just comes on a pile of raw onions or cabbage this time went for all the textural options. There was the beef, and then many pretty tasty things that if I were a better foodie I would be able to identify. All I can say is that there were lots of bits that tasted of things and was topped with twigs, yummy twigs. It took beef tataki up to the next level.
The main course, oh the main course. How it works is that you choose your meat and you are essentially presented with an assembly line. I went for the duck (rule: always order duck if it is on the menu) and it came with cucumber, a few types of lettuce, sauce, and ordered separately two buns. The buns are just white and fluffy clouds like what you would find in a normal filled steamed bun. You create your masterpiece in the right ratio for you (for me, it’s heavy on meat and cucumber) and then dive in. Love love love.
Since by this point I had eaten my body weight in food, it was only logical to get more food and order the doughnuts for dessert. Apparently made with black sugar, but what they actually tasted like was a combination of sesame and palm sugar, which is a really good sweet but not too sweet combination.
At this point I rolled out the door, happy with twitter for finding me the mega discount, Flesh and Buns for the amazing food (and giving me the wifi password) and London for having all the food options that the heart desires.