Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Shackfuyu, Soho

Ive been dying to head to Shackfuyu after hearing so much about the latest venture from the guys behind Bone Daddies and Flesh and Buns. Finally I got my chance after a day of museum hopping with my favourite partner in crime, Tilly. 

After perusing the gross but fascinating specimens at the Hunterian Museum  (and almost fainting in the process) we wandered down through the sunny streets of London to Somerset House to get a peek at the Beard exhibition in its last few days.

A day of culture really makes one work up and appetite, and after a few seconds of running through the internal restaurant list I have in my head it was an easy decision to head to up to Soho and Shackfuyu.

Situated on the old site of the Made in Italy restaurant on Old Compton Road the vibrant green and red outside was hard to miss. We were so keen they weren't open for supper for another hour so we settled ourselves in the nearby Benefit Pop-up Curl's Best Friend for a sneaky glass of champagne. 

The advantage of the early supper was beating the rush and being able to sit down straight away. By 6.45pm the place already had a 45 min waiting list! However the food is speedy and the service snappy so I could imagine that the turn around is fairly quick! 

We started off with choosing the cocktails, which came in adorable Alice in Wonderland type bottles. 

Tilly opted for the BoneDaddies Punch and equally delicious mix of rum, fresh passionfruit and pineapple juice. 

Whilst I opted for I chose the Ringo Starr, a moreish mix of gin, apple and sake. We cheers'ed to our Tuesday and set about deciding what we wanted, which was everything.

The concept behind the pop-up is Japanese fusion using the old wood fired pizza oven from the sites Italian days.  

We finally whittled down what we wanted, I mean it wasn't that hard, the menu isn't gigantic and I think with 3 hungry people to 4 you could easily order the whole menu. It's all sharing dishes, perfect for being able to sample everything! 

The food appears as and when its ready, and first up were the Korean fried wings. Smothered in a sticky hot sauce, they were not a delicate affair but when are wings ever?

The miso and bubu arare marinated aubergine topped with seaweed was delicious. I honestly could have eaten a vat of these.

We ordered one of the specials, the miso cured duck, which came as thin slices of cold duck which surprised me but was delicious especially when eaten with the pickled kumquat. 

The star of the show arrived, the prawn toast. Everything Ive read about this place has beyond raved about this dish and no one has been lying. It was insanely good. Topped with dashi flakes and drizzled in sauces, that I forget the name of now. 

Heres another close up. After the first bite we already contemplating ordering a second round. This would have been highly greedy but totally worth it. 

The mac and cheese arrived and I have to say, that although this was nice and tasty I wish we had ordered something else as it fell flat against the other superior dishes. Topped with fish eggs and bacon and cock scratchings it was a melty pot of loveliness but like I say I wish we had chosen slightly better, I was lead by my obsession with mac and cheese. 

The final dish to the party was the beef picanha smothered in a kimchee tare butter and simply melted in your mouth. Once couple with the little pot of Japanese mayo that had been given to us, well I mean, we ate the entire meal in silence which is no mean feat for us. The only sound we made were mmmmm and ahhhh and nodding in agreement. 

We ordered the perfect amount of food and sat back at the empty dishes were cleared. We ordered another cocktail to sit and digest. 

Digesting meant only one thing, there was room for dessert and for once I was incredibly keen to order it. A huge slab of french toast with a big pile of soft serve green tea ice cream on the side. 

We nibbled our way slowly through it. It was excellent, the ice cream was a real winner for me. 

The pop-up is around for a year, and as it is still in its first month you have a while to get to it. I honestly cant wait to go back and it really deserves all the praise that its received so far. The dishes will be evolving as the year goes on so even more of a reason to go back again and again. 

One of the best meals I had in a long time and incredible value for money, all of the above plus 4 cocktails only came to about £40 each. Even if you get there and there is a massive queue I implore you to get on the waitlist and grab a seat at the downstairs bar for as long as in necessary because its so worth the wait! 

Square Meal

Monday, 2 March 2015

JinJuu, Kingly Court

Korean food is having a moment with different concepts popping up all over the place.

The latest on the scene is Jinjuu, the creation of celebrity Korean chef Judy Joo, the ex-head of the Playboy Club, who started her career in London with Gordon Ramsey and has appeared on a number of TV shows such as the Iron Chef and her own Korean food show.

The idea behind Jinjuu, is a Korean street food and small plates in a cocktail bar setting, which is right up my street! The upstairs focuses more on the nibbley street food whilst downstairs is more of a restaurant setting and you can have larger sharing platters, such as the Korean Fried Chicken. I love going anywhere you essentially have to share food, I just think there is no better way to eat, you get to sample lots of different items and it becomes a talking point as everyone can swap opinions on the dishes, not that I ever really need help with talking points...

I hadn't seen one of my dearest ladies, Ana, in quite some time and we were long over due a big catch up. Both being a huge lovers of asian food, there was only one place which made sense to try and get a table and we were in luck.

I was a touch late and the place was heaving! Pushing my way through the noisy and crowed top bar, I was relieved to find us down stairs (in a much more sedate atmosphere) and Ana nestled in a corner and over-joyed to find it was right in front of the open kitchen.

Simply decorated with exposed brick work I loved the feel of the place, a great atmosphere but not so noisy that we would spend all evening yelling at each other. I would much suspect that the top bar would be like that. Having said that this was at about 8pm on a Friday evening so I would be interested to see what it was like during the week.

After some insane high speed chatter, the waitress interrupted us to pick out some cocktails and suggested we might look at the menu. 

Ana had already forewarned me she wanted to try pretty much everything which is always a good sign!

I can't tell you how much I loved the crockery and utensils, in fact the decor of the place was spot on, it felt more New York than London and just added to the excitement of a new place! 

After a little bit of a wait, our cocktails finally arrived, a classic cosmo for Ana and a minty cucumbery gin affair for myself. 

These were closely followed by the highly anticipated Sae-Woo Pops (crispy prawn balls) with the most incredibly moorish gochujang mayonnaise.

I cant say these lasted long!

We nibbled, sipped and chatted away. I have to say I didn't really notice the fairly substantial gap between our starters due to our gossiping,  until the waitress apologised to us for the delay. It had been rather a while, but she came barely gifts in the form of complimentary dumplings. 

Well, Im hardly one to get cross over a free dumpling! They were the days special, fried dumplings filled with the softest slow cooked pork with a spicy dipping sauce.

These were closely followed by their steamed friends, which were pretty as a picture! 

The vegetarian ones...

and their meaty pork and beef counterparts, both with a soy dipping sauce.

Both of us were starving by this point, so there was slight lull in conversation as we munched.

Next to arrive were our more main dishes, the steak tartare...

which was heaven, spiked with pieces of pear and pine nuts, topped off with a quails yolk to mix in for richness. 

Ana wasn't too keen on this one, which was fantastic news for me and I hoovered the lot!

Finally we added a Bibimbap bowl. A large granite bowl filled with sticky rice, seasonable vegetables  including meaty chunks of shitake mushrooms, strips of marinated sliced beef and topped off with a fried egg. 

It came sizzling to our table where the waitress poured over the gochujang sauce and then preceded to mixed the whole lot together

Making sure the sauce and egg yolked covered everything.

Such a tasty bowl to pick at! The bowl is so hot that but the time you get to the bottom of the bowl the rice is lovely and crispy and a delight to peel off the bottom! Though I will confess it was my least favourite of our line up, it just lacked the depth of flavour our other dishes provided. 

We sat and chatted long over our 2 hour allotted time slot yet we weren't disturbed. It was the best kind of catch up meal. 

If you were in a rush I probably wouldn't suggest it as the service isn't the most speedy Ive ever known, but for us it was perfect. The only annoyance came at the end when we repeatedly had to ask to pay for our bill, but it hardly cast a dark cloud over the evening.

People were still arriving downstairs at about 10.30 and when we eventually made it up stairs closer to 11 it was no less busy than when I arrived with people still tucking into food. 

They had several large tables which would be ideal for large groups and there is still so much on the menu I wanted to try so I am very much looking forward to a return visit! 

Hit them up here Jinjuu to book a spot! 

Square Meal