Flesh & Buns

Flesh and Buns
Gao Bao buns (or) Hirata Buns (or) Steam filled buns are the heart of the attraction here at Flesh & Buns

History and Background:

Opposite Belgo in Seven Dials, is the sister counterpart of Bone Daddies, a ‘rock and roll’ themed ramen bar. Ross Shonhan continued his interest in Japanese cuisine through Flesh & Buns, giving its own similar twist. Japanese Izakayas, (informal social dining and drinking) is the new concept undertaken by this restaurant, with the addition of Hentai manga plastered all over the washroom walls…

Located in a Covent Garden basement, it is tapas dining but Japanese fusion style. Hirata buns are its specialty, the first restaurant in London to do so. There are a mass of tables, booths, round tables, rows, a bar area, it was no trouble getting a seat for two. Desserts here are a must try, so save some stomach space for it!

The meal:

Soft Shell Crab £9.50 with Jalapeno sauce

Crispy and not oily, and the sauce was an amazing complement. Pity the customers next to us did not know how to eat this and basically ruined the dish…

Spicy tuna roll £8.80
Everything about it was perfect. A new style of sushi, crispy on the outer layer. Must have been lightly fried before serving.
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Grilled Mushrooms £4.50 – with sesame butter and lemon
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Crispy Piglet Belly £14.50
Bone Daddies Home Made Buns £2.00 for 2

Finally we got to the good bit, Hirata buns with Crispy Pork Belly. Can get a bit messy but very worthwhile. Word of warning, please, please do not order much before the buns… we were actually full…

Flat Iron Steak, so crispy, so tender, succulent… scrumptious… give me more words…
Japanese style burgers with sauces to complement the meat sandwiched between soft bread
Very fiddly but they do give you wet towels!
Flat Iron Steak £16.00

A lot of people come to Flesh and Buns for their desserts, notably the s’mores and the kinako doughnuts (which I have yet to try). Grace and I were celebrating her birthday so we got a more customised serving!

Dessert time!

S’mores – again a DIY thing, but very fun to play with. Melted marshmallows on skewers over a coal fire to sandwich between caramelised biscuits and matcha glazed chocolates is the definition of heaven.

We had the last match chocolates, F&B now serves milk chocolate.
You have to be quick. The fire runs out if you spend too much time taking photos haha!
Chocolate fondant and matcha ice-cream £6.00
Warm and gooey.

Nothing special for the fondant and ice-cream though. (Maybe it’s because I’m writing this post after returning from a trip in Japan…)

Service: Very trendy and chic service, since its a bar and pub style restaurant, they do treat you warmly. Maybe not so attentive at times, but given the size of the restaurant, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Bits and bobs:

  • Do visit restrooms – you’re in for a treat
  • £15 corkage fee if you want to bring cake
  • It’s below ground level, but they have wifi! Lots of rating points hehe.

Price: £££

Flesh and Buns on Urbanspoon

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Dozo Soho

Rainbow roll
Rainbow Roll, utterly brilliant @ Dozo Sushi, Soho
History and Background:

Whilst there’s not much I can find online with regards to its history, Dozo Soho is the sub-branch of Dozo Sushi in Kensington. Dozo Sushi, the much more extravagant restaurant offers a wider variety on its menu – which I’ve yet to visit. (Since I’ve run out of money, I need to wait for the next payday…) As some of you may know, my visit to Dozo Soho was actually last year, and these photos have featured in my old blog. Regardless, please see below for some mouth-watering sushi.

The meal:

Salmon Temaki Hand Roll
Salmon Temaki Hand Roll £3.20, Nigiri: £4.80

Salmon & Avocado Roll, £4.00
The above hand rolls and sushi rolls were nothing special, and in fact quite ordinary. But Dozo are known for their Dozo Rolls, and that’s what makes the meal expensive (see below). Otherwise I would say that the Ramen, and Donburi mains are actually not badly priced, and in fact if you go for lunch specials, Dozo can be cheap. They have many more rolls, some are much more extravagant, the taste and visual appeal is all here. If you’re interested and have the wallet for it, visit Dozo’s website before going, and you’ll find many more stunning visuals of their rolls on the menu page.

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Volcano Roll £15.80
As it says in the caption, rolls mimicking volcanoes, very saucy and can be a bit too much after a few, so do go with lots of friends! There are actually 8 pieces here. One piece stacked on top of another.

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Spider Maki £13.80

Crunchy, yet soft, one of my favourites, the soft shell crab

Rainbow Maki £13.80
I’m still getting used to sashimi, but I don’t mind sashimi with rice in the form of a roll. The rainbow maki has all kinds of fish, mackerel, squid, salmon, tuna…

Stunning colours.
Service: Dozo Sushi asks for 10% service charge, and Dozo Soho asks for 15%.

Bits and bobs:

  • Recommend definitely trying one type of Dozo roll and then maybe a Donburi, or a Ramen. Bill will be less of a shock.
  • In Dozo Soho they have the traditional zashiki seats. Can be a bit of a kafuffle to get your legs into the legroom area…

Price: ££

Dozo Soho on Urbanspoon

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Homeslice Pizza

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History and Background:

A small post for a small restaurant that serves one of the largest, if not, the largest pizzas in London. This pizzeria is already very well known amongst the people in their low-mid twenties, serving American style pizza with wood-fired ovens, hand tossed, and homemade. A very trendy place, very pub-like, with beers and drinks accompanied with pizzas in abundance, loud music that fills the room and almost 90 minute queues to get in for a slice, this restaurant sure knows how to pull people in. Started up in the courtyard of an East London Brewery, Homeslice soon moved to Covent Garden for a more permanent setting. Opened in June 2013, situated in Neal’s Yard (Seven Dials), and only pizza is on the menu at 20 inches for £20.00. For which you can order as a whole or by slice at £4.00 per slice. Options are available for mix and match offering some very unique flavours such as bone marrow.

The meal:

Salami and cheese, and the other half mushroom

 Due to the enormity of the pizza, it can be very sloppy, but nevertheless tasted amazing, all the juices and condiments intact, savoury yet sweet. It was scrumptious. You can see just how large it is by comparing it to Kinhoe’s pint of beer. Unfortunately even with my SLR camera with me, Homeslice lighting was awful, you can’t really take any photos and I had to result in using flash from snapchat… Yes, snapchat..I would be sure to try again during the day time, where possibly there would be less of a queue… and therefore better photos!

Gigantic, colossal, humongous @ £20.00

My second visit with Daisy was also on the weekend, with 45 minute waiting time, some better photos below:

Bone Marrow and Mushroom options with Homeslice
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Because one photo isn’t enough

Service: Very trendy staff, between I’d say 20-30 years of age, all very friendly and down to earth. They also start busting some moves when their favourite song comes on. They also take orders with an iPad. Modern huh?

Bits and bobs:

  • They do takeaways
  • Very long queues, and very crowded

Price: £

Homeslice on Urbanspoon

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Bubba Gump Shrimp

Mel, Daisy and Wendy having fun with the friendly staff at the American chain, Bubba Gump

History and background:

Forest Gump fans and seafood lovers squealed of excitement when news broke out that the popular American chain Bubba Gump was coming to London. With seats for 400, spread across two floors, plus a memorabilia souvenir shop, it became an attractive and appealing place to go.

An extensive range of dishes from lobster linguine to the more traditional signature dishes, and motivational movie quotes taken from the 1994 film Forrest Gump, the opening of this restaurant in September 2014 was a very welcomed one.

The meal:

This wasn’t a great meal. Don’t let the food photos fool you. With basically everything breaded or fried, I guess it really lives up to what people think ‘American’ food is. SImilar to KFC or McDonalds, where we would be exclaiming how good the food is once you’re eating it, but in reality the after effect leaves you pondering why you ever ordered them in the first place.

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms £5.95 A

Well we all know how much I like mushrooms, this was actually pretty good, but I really recommend ordering something like this and then add a salad or something less greasy. Greenbow County Favourite, topped with Parmesan Cheese

Lobster Linguine £16.75

There’s a bit of recycling going on here with the ingredients, but I’m not sure what. Very buttery also. This dish wasn’t that great, fish topped with very fattening sauce. Tender Lobster sauteed with Broccoli in Lobster Sauce, served over a bed of Linguine.

Shrimp Shack Mac & Cheese £8.25

Noodle mixed with sauteed Shrimp, Cheddar, Montery Jack and Parmesan Cheese. Topped with golden brown Bread Crumbs. Good. But can you see where this is going? Not a surprise that we got very sick afterwards… the Bubba Gump Shrimp menu isn’t exactly the best when it comes to healthy options…

Shrimper’s Heaven £19.50

As timeout also insinuated, this is a rip off, most of it was raw cabbage with a layer of the so called signature dishes. Cheap fries too. Not impressed with it at all. The sauces tasted like they came from cheap, mass produce, no authenticity at all.

Hand breaded Coconut Shrimp, Peel n Eat Shrimp, Fried Shrimp, Japanese style Tempura Shrimp with Fries, sauces like Tangy Asian, Cajun Marmalade, Zesty Cocktail
Shrimps everywhere at Bubba Gump. Be sure to try… but not to everyone’s taste buds!
Mama’s Southern Fried Chicken £12.95

This is what Wendy got, it looks unimpressive. Not sure about the taste but considering the amount of fried food and starchy condiments we had, she probably didn’t even enjoy this. Looks like KFC doesn’t it? Well go for KFC. It’s cheaper, and tastier.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae £6.25

Freshly baked chocolate chip cookie served warm with vanilla ice cream, topped with chocolate and caramel sauce, peanuts and lots of whipped cream! This was unbelievably good, probably the best thing from here. I love warm cookies – can get a bit sickening with the caramel and the cream, I can’t take things that are too sweet!

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Alabama Brownie
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Best of the Best Sample The Hook, Line, and Sinker £8.75

The Best of the Best Sample dessert is probably the least impressive of the desserts. The warm cookie dough didn’t even taste anything like the actual warm cookie dough I had. The others… the sponge cake looking one was so hard, and probably came straight out of the fridge, not fresh.

Warm cookie dough…. scrumptious
Brownie services warm with vanilla ice cream, topped with expresso sauce and whipped cream

Brownie and cookie dough is probably one of the desserts I’d come and eat again, and I’m not a big chocolate fan, but it was good! Less on the cream and it would be even more perfect.

Service: An attempt at the American style of serving doesn’t really work here in London, too enthusiastic and very overstaffed.

Bits and bobs:

  • Try and vary what you order. Although I’m sure you would see a lot of the same ingredients in each dish
  • If you like quotes, spend some time reading the ones up the stairs, some are very inspirational!

Price: ££

Aqua Shard

Aqua Shard, partitioned into two, the restaurant and the bar, both offering panoramic views of London’s skyline

  

First visit to Aquashard
  
with Amy and Poyee
 History and Background: Aqua Shard, is part of the Hong Kong based company Aqua Group, also owning Hutong, (both Hong Kong and London), Aqua Kyoto, and Aqua Nueva. Serving British cuisine half way up  The Shard at what is western Europe’s tallest building, it’s floor-to-ceiling windows allows it to offer a spectacular 360 degree view of London.

The Shard is a relatively new structure, completed in 2012 and opened in February 2013. Aqua Shard opened mid June 2013. The restaurant, very contemporary, with the interior – plain, but somewhat distinguishably British, and the dim-lit lights subtly gives it the finishing touch for a cosmopolitan and modern feel.

The meal:

This is my second visit to Aqua Shard, and the first one turned out to be pretty disappointing, I was left very unimpressed. However, the menu has considerably changed since my last visit, and surpassed my low expectations for this place. A meal intended to celebrate Christmas and New Years with my family came out to be a meal well spent!

Warm house bread with cheesy butter, and normal butter
   
different type of bread from first visit
 We had 3 toppings of the free house bread, couldn’t get my hands off of them… 
(First visit) elegant presentation
 
Breath taking views of the London skyline – a view not seen from all seats of the restaurants though!

Festive Shrimps £15-17
Slow-poached veal fillet £14.50
Real Cornish Crab Salad £15.50

Slow poached veal fillet consisted of tuna mousse, bone marrow, elderflower and caper vinaigrette. Real Cornish crab salad consisted of red pepper, chives, shallot, bull’s blood micro-cress, cucumber & vallee de Baux olive oil emulsion. The appetisers were nothing special, and soon forgotten to be honest. Not to mention the tiny portion sizes. (My photos are usually zoomed in, a lot.)

The Red Cornish Crab Salad does have its visual appeal though… lovely colours.
Grilled Dover Sole £32.50
12oz Black Angus Sirloin on the bone £39.00

The very dim-lit restaurant seriously influenced the lighting on my photos… so please excuse me while I head to the washroom to cry.

Duck breast £32.00
Lamb £29.00

The mains were much more satisfactory, although the lamb was a bit too rare, it was enjoyable, tender and succulent. The best main would probably be the sirloin steak, so many juices, and so very meaty… I’m dribbling. I always find that it is the desserts that steal the show, so without further ado, please see below for the dazzling display of food porn!

Yule Log £7.50
Christmas Pudding £7.50
Pistachio ice cream that comes with the Chocolate Souffle
Chocolate Souffle £8.50
David’s mess

The desserts here are to die for. Melted chocolate just oozes out once you break the outer lining of the souffle. David’s mess has you pining for more with the combination of guava sorbet, chantilly and rasberry. Yule log, and Christmas Pudding, the season specials are strongly recommended too!

Work of art, sweet and scrumptious, the best till last!

Service: Upon arrival, and when you’re taken to your seat – it’s great, but whilst you’re sat down it can be a bit slow to get their attention. 12.5% service charge.

Bits and bobs:

  • All window seats are two seaters, if you want a window seat then strongly advise you to go with only one other person
  • Surprisingly loud background music, but this is probably due to the bar area rather than from the restaurant
  • Bookings strongly recommended, or that you can just turn up to the bar, but expect queues
  • Take a visit to the washrooms, they have good views there too…

Price: ££££

Aqua Shard on Urbanspoon

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