Well, I don’t know what took me so long to write this review and share photos of the dinner I had a Shackfuyu in March, a few weeks after it had opened in Soho. If you’re a foodie and have a Twitter account you have probably heard of this restaurant already: owned by Australian chef Ross Shonhan, Shackfuyu is the little brother of Bone Daddies and Flesh & Buns. While all three restaurants have very different concepts and menus, they all share influences from Japanese cuisine and Shonhan’s modern approach to traditional dishes.
I am a fan of Bone Daddies (their vegetarian mushroom ramen is one of my favourite dishes in London), so I arrived at Shackfuyu on a press launch night with great expectations. I was supposed to have dinner with my husband, but a miscommunication and flat phone battery meant he spent the evening at home, while I had a great dinner with a group of Twitter friends who kindly invited me at their table so that I wouldn’t be alone! My friend Clerkenwell Boy had already taken care of ordering EVERY dish from the menu, so there wasn’t a risk of any of us starving that night!
All I had to do for the next hour was to drink sake and try every dish on the table. Hard life, I know!
The idea behind Shackfuyu is to “playfully highlight foods current in Japan today”, with influences from Korea and China. The short menu doesn’t resemble any other Japanese restaurant in London. I think of it as Japanese-style tapas, because the dishes are small and meant to be shared. The menu has been tweaked and updated since I went and at the moment there are only two mains (£12 / £15) available, the rest of the menu is small places and sides.
Among my favourites dishes at Shackfuyu: the miso aubergine with bubu arare (dish on the left side).
The USDA beef picanha with kimchee tare butter.
The roasted scallop with chilli miso butter.
The prawn toast masquerading as okonomiyaki.
And the hot stone rice with goma tare, chilli and beef.
This beef-and-chili concoction is based on Korea’s bibimbap mixed-rice dish, only the traditional gochujang chili spicing is replaced by a Japanese interpretation of the sauce used for dandan noodles in Sichuan cooking. There’s also a sesame butter with onion and garlic, and corn on the cob is somewhere in the mix for extra crunch. [Richard Vines for Bloomberg]
But the highlight of my dinner at Shackfuyu, as I’m sure it was for all of my friends as well, was the Kinako French Toast with Matcha Soft Serve Ice Cream.
To eat at Shackfuyu without trying this dessert would be a terrible mistake. The menu offers just one pudding, but I doubt anyone is complaining.
Grace Dent declared it “the greatest new pudding in London for 2015” on ES Magazine, while for Felicity Spector it was the inspiration for an entire article on The Guardian about French Toast. A “plate of toast, with its gently melting swirl of ice cream, its dust of kinako crumb, its pillowy, buttery centre with a hit of maple syrup and its caramelised crust”, as Felicity described it.
The thick slice of toast has a heart of warm custard cream which works magic with the cold and delicate ice cream. It’s a fantastic combination and I agree with Grace there: it’s the greatest pudding in London right now! If you haven’t tasted it yet, you are missing out!
Finally, Shackfuyu hides a bar downstairs and I’ve heard the cocktails are pretty great. We’ve lost a few people from our table that evening, when they went to the toilets and ended up staying at the bar rather than coming back to our table!
Overall, Shackfuyu for me it’s a great to Soho’s trendy food scene. Perfect for a meal with friends, great for drinks and the best for pudding!
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Shackfuyu press launch event. All opinions are my own.