Tried & Tested

Restaurant check: Shackfuyu

24 Apr 2015 by Jenny Southan

BACKGROUND

We wouldn’t normally review a pop-up, but the food is so good that this one is worth recommending. Plus it will be in Soho at least until the end of the year, so it can hardly be called a pop-up at all.

Shackfuyu was recently launched by critically acclaimed Bone Daddies, which has two Ramen Bars (in Kensington and Soho), as well as Flesh and Buns in Covent Garden.

All four establishments recreate casual Japanese dining concepts popular with work-weary salarymen who need to unwind with a drink and some simple, tasty food, often in a communal setting such as an izakaya, with dishes to share.

THE RESTAURANT

You can’t make reservations here so swing by and with any luck you will get a seat – plus, there is a basement bar where you can kill a bit of time. Please note that I don’t advocate queuing for anything (where possible), but a short wait of up to 15 minutes would be worth it in my opinion.

The interior seats 70 people and a great rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack plays overhead. Meanwhile, the stripped-back décor has green walls and free-hanging lamps, exposed brickwork, and a mix of wooden furniture and red leather semi-circular banquettes, which are good for groups of five or six.

Service is fast-paced and friendly, with dishes coming out in no particular order (deliberately so – there is no starter/main structure).

THE FOOD

Items on the menu are subject to change but hopefully this will give you an idea of what to expect. When I visited with a friend, we ended up ordering about nine dishes to share, which was probably too many (three each would possibly be enough) but we wanted to try so many things.

We kicked things off with a couple of salt-rimmed frozen yuzu margaritas (made with the juice of a Japanese citrus similar to grapefruit) and some edamame beans in the pod (£3.80) with sweet chilli soy.

Next up were some delectable avocado and yellowtail tostadas (£2.50 each), spicy Korean-fried chicken wings (£5.90) topped with sesame seeds, and prawn toast “masquerading as okonomiyaki” (Japanese pancake) sprinkled with bonito fish flakes for £5.20.

I loved the umami-rich miso aubergine (£5.80), which was sweet and squishy and slightly charred, as well as the chunks of fried potato in brown curry sauce typical of the stuff I used to eat at Coco’s in Tokyo.

There was also savoury barbecued cauliflower in orange miso ponzu (£4.60), beetroot salad, and an unnecessary mac and cheese with bacon and “cock scratchings” for £5.40. (Pure greed.)

I heard the green tea soft-serve ice cream with French toast is a must, but after spending the best part of £100 on food and four cocktails (plus I was already full), I decided to try it next time, along with an exploration of the sake menu.

VERDICT

This is a great addition to the Soho dining scene, and one I’d like to see stay as the food is so delicious. I will definitely be back. If you go, take off your tie and relax.


FACT FILE

  • OPENING HOURS Mon 12-3pm and 5.30-10pm, Tues to Fri 12-3pm and 5.30-11pm, Sat 12pm-11pm, Sun 12pm-9pm
  • PRICES Small plates range from £2.50-£15
  • CONTACT Shackfuyu, 14a Old Compton Street; tel +44 (0)20 8600 3600; bonedaddies.com/shackfuyu


Jenny Southan
 

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