Congratulations everyone, you made it through 2016. I don’t need to echo the sentiments of literally every single person on the internet, we’ve all read it. Instead i’m choosing to look back at 2016 through a more positive lens… and that lens is mainly focussed on food.
While I personally moved out of London at the beginning of the year, plenty of great restaurants moved in, and while the subject of this review isn’t exactly a newcomer of 2016, it did become a permanent fixture after spending a year as a pop-up of Bone Daddies.
Serving up Western-style Japanese food, Shackfuyu can be found on Old Compton Street opposite Ed’s Diner (offering a stark contrast of quality and dining imagination) One amazing thing about Shackfuyu is that you can actually book a table here! Can you imagine, the novelty of booking a table to dine in Soho?! I’ve heard it can be very busy in here – a wonderful group of bloggers I met at a food based market research day just before Christmas personally recommended this place, and it was actually Shona’s review that she posted a week or so later, in which she mentioned it being busy and feeling a tad rushed at the end of her meal, that inspired me to try it out for myself. And because Shona hadn’t had time to try out the dessert, I promised i’d give it a try, and report back for her!
So in the days between Christmas and New Year, I went with a friend to Soho in the name of new friendships and to enjoy some food that wasn’t Christmas leftovers!
It was easy enough to get a table (the week between Christmas and NYE is always the best time to dine out in places that are usually packed!) and we had the pick of plenty of tables within the restaurant. I liked the decor; brick walls, dark green tiling and Japanese movie posters are dotted around the room. There are booths along one wall just past the bar for larger groups, and smaller tables adjacent.
We sat, ordered a couple of Old Fashioneds and checked out the menu. Diners have the choice of a tasting menu or a couple of smaller dishes and mains. The tasting menu is £30 per person and is sort of a compilation of their “best of” dishes, however it seemed like a lot of food, and it didn’t include a few things I really fancied so instead we opted for a personalised selection from the smaller plates.
We started with a round of the £6.40 French Toast (masquerading as okonomiyaki which is a Japanese savoury pancake – thanks, google!) which I had heard great things about, and luckily wasn’t disappointed. These aren’t like your standard takeaway greasy prawn toasts, they’re crisp and drizzled with a creamy sauce similar to (if not the same as) Japanese mayo. They were also topped with flakes of something which could possibly be potato or parsnip… I couldn’t quite tell, but I loved how they wriggled with the heat beneath.
We also ordered a few of their buns: the chashu pork (£5) and the crispy duck (£6). The buns were soft and delicious, and between the two, the pork was the better, with a sweet spicy soy sauce, apple pickle and kimchee.
The Korean fried wings at £6 were loaded with heat and fell from the bone; juicy and succulent, though the flavour was almost too strong that we didn’t finish the bowl of 3. We did however scrape the Hot Stone Rice Bowl clean which was mixed at our table. I love these rice bowls – there’s so many wonderful ingredients packed in (sesame, chilli and beef included) and I love the textures, especially as the rice crisps up as it cooks in the piping hot bowl.
There is only one thing on the dessert menu which made it easy to order (even though I was ready to pop and definitely didn’t need a pudding) and it wasn’t long before their infamous brioche french toast with soft serve matcha ice cream was served at our table! I adore matcha (my favourite thing to really take off in 2016) and this ice cream was beautiful and creamy, and went so perfectly with the fluffy brioche french toast which was almost gooey on the inside. Its an incredibly sweet dessert though and more than enough for 2 people. It’s definitely a £7 plate of fun Japanese flavours and a bit of a dream for Instagram snapping!
Our bill came to £60, and that included the two Old Fashioneds, which were deliciously smooth, as well as the great service – at the bottom of the menu it is stated that ALL cash and card tips go to the staff, which is great, considering the scandal of La Gavroche which hit headlines just before the holidays.
I’ve got to say a huge thank you to both Shona and Seetal for pushing me to try this place out. I definitely want to return again this year, and next time will attempt to try out their Seabass Ceviche, the Wagyu Picanha and the Monkfish Cheeks which all were tempting but my waistline couldn’t quite manage (even after its Christmas expansion!)… so until next time i’ll just keep dreaming of that dreamy matcha ice cream.