Flesh And Buns Fitzrovia (Oxford Circus)

As far as soft launches go, Flesh and Buns was a pretty good one. I was intrigued from the off by the addition of a Nikkei focused menu that expands on the Izakaya menu from Covent Garden, and of course the new venture into Pisco Sours, made all the more intriguing by the promise of a unique ordering system in the form of a “press for pisco” button embedded into every table, that when pressed, summons a mixologist to your side with a drinks cart. They then make a Pisco Sour from the menu of two varieties: the traditional and the Shisho & Green Apple variant.

The Food At Flesh and Buns

Out of the abundance of food that we ordered on the night, I enjoyed the sushi the most. The soft shell crab in particular is mouthwatering. The crab lurches out of the end pieces of the roll with a beautiful orange hue and a delicious, yet light batter that pairs beautifully with a mix of chives, yamagobo pickle, sweet potato and rocoto mayonnaise. The yakitori is delicious with Schichimi pepper and makes for a good starter with a drink in hand. The Tiger Prawn Toban was a pleasant surprise, with the deep and bold flavours of the garlic and Amarillo ponzu butter contrasting beautifully with the leek. The ceviche was okay but predictable, with bright fresh ingredients, bold flavours and pretty, colourful presentation, but not much in the way of anything new. It had all the right flavours but a certain flare that I was hoping for was was missing.

The addition of the smoker at this branch of Flesh and Buns is a good one, and the chilli miso Brisket, delivered just hot from atop the charcoal is decadent and flavourful. The smoker all but ensures soft, moist meat that’s then covered in chipotle miso BBQ sauce and served with a carrot and red chilli pickle, and of course the soft fluffy Baos that Flesh and Buns are known for. We actually got a second plate of this stuff brought to our table by mistake, that they asked us to keep  – I suppose they made too much? Whatever the reason, I was happy to oblige. For dessert we indulged in s’mores that, with the addition of the cute little flame smoking out from your own private claypot to roast them over, are pleasant enough but have just a touch too much passion fruit flavouring the marshmallow.

The Drinks At Flesh and Buns

The cocktails at Flesh and Buns were a bit of a letdown. As is typical, it’s a menu of classics with twists and deviations, in the form of “Asian ingredients”, infusions and liquor replacements that seem all too familiar.

I started with a Shisho Mule that uses a Shisho-infused vodka and yuzu juice, meh, it was fine, but not particularly well mixed. The pisco sours were enjoyable but nothing special and it’s difficult to drink more than a couple. More bothersome though is that the “press for Pisco” button did not work as advertised. On out first press we waited for at least 10 minutes (and pressed a couple of times) before succumbing to ordering from the waitress, who then summoned a Pisco shaker in the old fashioned way. Even so, having the drinks mixed at the table is a nice touch, but in this bustling megapolis of a restaurant, I wonder if they’d actually require another 20 cart-pushers to deliver a quick and effective table service, because as it was, we waited 15 minutes or more after every push. Service was otherwise agreeable, which is astonishing when considering just how busy the restaurant gets.

Flesh & Buns, 32 Berners St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3LR