FOOD: FLESH & BUNS

THE BEGINNING – WITH INTRIGUED CAUTION

Not many within my own circle of friends had dined at Flesh & Buns, however the intriguing name, the décor concept and the menu were more than sufficient to peak my interest in trying out the restaurant. After several occasions of rescheduling, mainly because of my own hectic schedule – much to my own glee, I was finally able to book a table at a reasonable hour for dinner last night with my partner and his very good friend who worked nearby. Considering I had been in London for the past six months, I find it slightly embarrassing that I had not ventured near Seven Dials, which was equally if not more vibrant than Carnaby Street.

The entrance of the restaurant gave it an ambiguous feel, it doesn’t give out the ‘normal’ vibe of a restaurant – the projector screen above the staircase towards the restaurant showing silent anime clips. I must admit it does set the restaurant apart from others in terms of memorability. An additional striking feature would be the bathroom walls, which the wallpaper is adorned with clippings of hentai imagery.

THE FOOD

Fried Squid
Japanese Pepper | Lime

There seems to be a regular occurrence for restaurants to overcook their fried seafoods, resulting in a tough and chewy interior. These in particular were a mélange of sour, salted and piquant thanks to the Japanese pepper and the squirt of lime juice. The squid was tender without being chewy and the fried batter was appreciatively textured. My only criticism that perhaps it might have been a tad oilier than what my tastes tend to prefer.

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Tuna Tataki
Jalapeño Ponzu | Garlic Chips

The tuna was ruby red and fresh, greatly complimenting the spice from the bed of sauce it was so delicately submerged into. The crispy garlic chips was also a welcome taste and texture to the wetness from the sauce and fish.

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Korean Fried Wings
Spicy Sour Sauce | Sesame

What can I say? Korean fried wings are a staple as any starter could be, I believe. The sauce was as delicious as the extra large bottle of Sriracha that I own at home, and the skin was still surprisingly crispy alongside the very tender meat. Unfortunately I was only able to consume one wing due to Adam’s famished state and his penchant for his nationalistic Korean pride in this particular dish.

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Grilled Sweet Potato
Ginger | Green Chilli Mayo | Sesame | Spring Onions

Sweet potato anything is delicious. I realise that many are not too keen for sampling vegetarian dishes when dining out, however this sweet potato dish is something you need to subject your tastebuds to. The creamy nature of the green chilli mayo was just right to offset the crispy cubes of sweet potato; and addition of the spring onions and sesame seeds were definitely a much needed bonus flavour to this dish.

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Salmon Avocado Roll
Asparagus | Avocado | Daikon | Cress

I think there may be a bias as to my preference to this roll over the softshell crab roll. I have an addiction to raw salmon and a great hatred to cooked salmon, hence why whenever faced with the option I always have it raw. The roll was perfectly balanced, with the crunch of the asparagus and daikon, the soft buttery taste of the avocado and the fresh flavour of the cress pairing the salmon. I also noticed the wonderful ratio of rice to filling, which was that there was more filling (and a large cut of salmon) than there was rice. Absolute perfection.

Softshell Crab Roll
Jalapeño | Mayo | Chives

I would have thoroughly enjoyed this roll, if I were not allergic to this particular shellfish. Adam mentioned that the crab was still warm and crispy inside the roll.

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Spicy Beef Hot Stone Rice

With the stereotype of being Asian and having a love affair with rice, it would be remiss of me not to affirm these allegations of myself and the poetic romance I have with clay pot and hot stone rice dishes. The rice is kept hot throughout the meal, and the best bits are the crispy rice that has been turned crispy and golden brown at the bottom and the sides of the hot dish. Mixing the crunchy rice bits along with the more moist rice is a heavenly pairing of textures and tastes. This hot stone rice pot was just as heavenly an experience as the clay pot and hot stone rice that I have back in Hong Kong. The mélange of mushrooms, spring onions, carrots and corn alongside the spicy beef made this my favourite dish from Flesh & Buns. I realise that their signature dish is their buns and grilled meats, however this dish could definitely compete alongside good Korean Bibimbap. I would recommend this dish when dining at this establishment! I would recommend ordering one each; I restrained myself from blinding Adam with my chopsticks when he so selfishly reached to spoon the last bits of the hot stone rice for himself.

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Nathalie’s Rating: 4.5/5

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