London: Shackfuyu

As proof that time is passing at what feels like the speed of light, here’s a post I meant to publish at the end of the summer last year when I’d just enjoyed my birthday meal at Bone Daddies’ Shackfuyu. I love this type of food that I would describe as Japanese junk food and the restaurant calls Western Japanese food.

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My friend Ro and I met up for a drink at then newly opened Café Monico before heading over to Shackfuyu. We were both really hungry and ordered away. First up was padron peppers. Not much to say about them really; they’re always lovely!

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Next we had the Korean fried wings which were nice and hot, just very messy to eat!

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The imo fries, crispy sweet potato fries, with yuzu mayo were also lovely.

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And by the time we had the sashimi it was a lovely palate cleanser with its fresh flavours.

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At the beginning of the meal the food arrived at a fast and steady pace but when it was time for the last two dishes – the heavier ones – we waited for approximately 40 mins. Not great and it wasn’t communicated very well to us either. It was just a shame as we then started to feel full before the rich meaty dishes finally arrived. We still managed to enjoy them though, but it was a bit of an effort trying to finish them!

The sukiyaki style wagyu picanha was amazing but so so rich. It was piping hot when it arrived, cooking the beef in the stone bowl at the table. When it was cooked we mixed it all together and thoroughly enjoyed the sweet sticky sauce enriched with an egg yolk and the enoki mushrooms. A must-order dish!

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The sticky fatty lamb ribs with pickled plum miso glaze were also full of umami and finger-lickin’ good.

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We were beyond full at this point but still had to order the Kinako French Toast with matcha soft serve ice cream. It’s probably the most instagrammed dessert in London and very very good, even when you’re so full you’re about to explode!

Shackfuyu, 14a Old Compton St, London W1D 4TJ

 

Revisiting Kurobuta, Chelsea

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A Saturday a looong time ago now, Caroline and I met up for dinner in Chelsea. We hadn’t booked anywhere but wanted Japanese and when we tried Kurobuta they luckily had space for us at the communal table.

I’d only been to Kurobuta once before this, when it was still a pop-up at a different location on the Kings Road, but the permanent space is so much better. The ambiance feels more restaurant-y and the food is just as good – if not even better!

A group at our communal table were eating the tempura prawns when we arrived, they looked really good so it was the first thing we ordered. They were nice and crispy on the outside but the prawn within was still nice and juicy and the onions and chilli worked well with the prawns and the delicious mayo. The fried white shreds underneath the prawns were not that nice, but at least it looked nice!

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Our next dish was these a-ma-zing wagyu beef sliders with steamed buns, crispy onion, pickled cucumber and umami mayo. Sooo good and my favourite dish this evening!

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The wellowtail sashimi was nice but a little too wet for my liking as it was resting in a pool of yuzu and soy.

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Also the maki roll with spicy tuna was a bit of a let down. It was lacking a bit in flavour and all the spice came from the sauce on top, not from the roll itself..

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But we absolutely loved the grilled miso chicken! Nice charred flavour from the grill and it was perfectly cooked.

Despite not finding all the dishes perfect, I do really enjoy coming here. The food is always good and some dishes are excellent. And compared tp many other restaurants offering Japanese small dishes or Asian fusion this is one of the better! Just promise me you try the Wagyu slider, and you’ll see what I mean!

Kurobuta, 312 Kings Road, London SW3 5UH 

Japanese lunch at Roka, Aldwych

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At Taste of London this year Caroline and I got a voucher for 25% off food at Roka Aldwych, which we used shortly after. In August I believe. Where does the time go?!?

Anyway, it was a lovely sunny day and we had time for a long lunch. Those were the days…

The first thing on the menu that caught my eye was the scallop sashimi, and I remembered the fab version I had at Berns in Stockholm, and just had to order it here too. Sadly it was nowhere near as nice as the one in Stockholm, it was fresh but not as nice tasting. The yellow tail tartar was also a little plain, but from here on the lunch only got better and better.

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The softshell crab and kimchi maki roll was really nice, and I like the fact the sauce was served on the side instead of all on top of the sushi.

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The beef gyozas were also nice, not wow but nice. The filling was OK but the pastry was perfect.

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This sticky deliciousness that is grilled aubergine was just amazing! I would come back just to have that. Yum…

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And these beef and shosito pepper skewers were top notch too!

The level of the cooking was a bit up and down but the dishes got (seriously) better towards the end of the meal, so maybe they’re best at the cooked dishes here.

Roka Aldwych, 71 Aldwych, London WC2B 4HN

Dinner at Kurobuta, a Chelsea pop-up restaurant

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The day after we tried Flesh and Buns for lunch, Caroline and I had dinner at a restaurant with similar cuisine, a pop-up restaurant in Chelsea called Kurobuta, but it will soon have a permanent spot near Marble Arch.

We shared a lot of different dishes, starting with the yellowtail tuna sashimi with kazimi wasabi salsa and yuzu soy sauce (above). Very nice and great texture.

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Barbecued chicken scewers with Japanese barbecue sauce. Tender meat and very nice smoky flavour.

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The pumpkin tempura was lovely and served with a delicious dip with spicy shiso.

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Tea smoked cutlet of lamb with spicy Korean miso. Very nice indeed, and one of my favourites. The lamb was tender and quite rare which I like and with a thick coating of the delicious glaze.

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The crispy soft shell crab roll with kimchi mayo was also very nice.

Kurobuta’s menu has a few different sections; one with snacks, one with barbecue, one with crispy food, one with sushi and one with cold and raw dishes (like sashimi). One section was called ‘Significant Others’ and sounded so boring that we didn’t try a single dish, but apart from that we sampled every section on the menu.

The food at Kurobuta is tasty and well-made and I always like to share small dishes, especially when you can have sushi and barbecued dishes at the same time. Compared to Flesh and Buns this is a lot better. It feels like Kurobuta has a clearer concept, but there is still room for improvement.

The service was very varied; we had a great waitress but a few others ran around like headless chickens and that is quite easy to fix. And hopefully the new place will have a better ventilated kitchen as half the restaurant on our visit was filled with thick smoke from the barbecue.

Kurobuta, 251 King’s Road, London SW3 5EL

Dinner at Sushisamba, The City

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Sushisamba (featured in Sex and the City as you may remember?) opened up their London branch about a year ago but it took me a while to visit. In fact, it was trying their delicious sasa roll at Taste of London earlier this year that really made me want to go.

The restaurant is located on the 38th floor of Heron Tower in The City and as you can imagine, the view is quite something. The interior is too, with two outdoor spaces and lots of glass walls.

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I went here with my Caroline (who also has a food blog), my usual restaurant buddy, and we had a few dishes to share. Although it doesn’t look like that much I was almost too full to move afterwards.

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The yellowtail sashimi with yuzu and black truffle oil was delicious and amazing in texture. One of my favourites.

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Also the calamari with crisp plantain, pico de gallo and tamarind was lovely and the squid was both crisp and melt-in-the-mouth soft at the same time.

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The maki roll with soy marinated salmon, asparagus, onion, chives, tempura and wasabi mayo was OK but nothing special. It was crispy and fresh but it was difficult to make out the flavours.

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The sasa rolls, however, were just as amazing as I remembered them. Shrimp tempura, coriander, red onion, shishito and spicy mayonnaise in a delicious combination. I can highly recommend it!

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Caroline introduced me to Peruvian corn which is whiter and has bigger kernels than regular sweet corn. It is also chewier and less sweet. So nice!

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The barbecued flank steak with aji panca chilli was pretty full-on flavour wise and parts of the meat was stringy so I wasn’t that impressed with it. I guess I had high expectations when walking past the lovely smelling barbecue on the way to our table.

Although quite unimpressed with two of the dishes I really like Sushisamba. The three dishes I enjoyed were absolutely delicious and although the other two didn’t impress me there was absolutely nothing wrong with them.

The staff was also friendly and very much on the ball, the interior feels very New Yorky and the outdoor space as well as the view is spectacular. This place is well worth a visit!

Sushisamba, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY