We step down into Flesh & Buns – a restaurant occupying a large basement floor in Covent Garden. There’s lively music playing in the background and the atmosphere is buzzing on a Saturday night. A large communal high table stands in the centre of the room and leads all the way to the bar down the back. Despite booking ahead, the waitress signals us to two spare seats on this table and we find ourselves perched up, elbow to elbow amongst different groups.
I sip on my lychee and pomegranate martini (£9.00) while we ponder what food to order. The idea is to choose whatever filling you want (flesh) to fill your steamed buns with – hence the name! There are also veggie options available. We opt for a selection of small plates and a couple of meat dishes for our buns and choose the plate of mixed leaves to go with.
Our first dish of scallop comes out and I had to do a double take. It was literally one scallop cut three ways, I kid you not! It was really tasty though with the yuzu mayo drizzled across, just a shame the dish was let down by the minuscule portion. At £12.50, this was the most expensive item under small dishes and when they say small, they mean it. Order with caution!
Up next were the Korean fried chicken wings (£7.40). These were like chicken wings on steroids – bigger than your standard size! A good crunch was achieved when I bit into them but what claimed to be a spicy sour sauce smothered over them, was more on the sweet side and lacked the kick I was after.
They nailed the softshell crab (£10.50) – crispy on the outside and nice, soft flesh within. Really delectable dipped in the jalepeno mayo.
Now for the fun bit, time to construct our buns! The crispy duck leg (£14.60) comes out whole and the waiter shreds it at our table. Then follows the crispy piglet belly (£15.20). We ordered 2 steamed buns each (£2.00) as recommended and a plate of mixed leaves and cucumber (£2.00). All tasted fine, as expected. Nothing critical to say about the dishes but at the same time, nothing to write home about either.
We end our meal on a high with these little babies – fresh warm kinako donuts (£7.20) filled with black sugar custard – absolutely divine! Made up for the ordinary mains.
All in all, a decent meal – not bad but not great either. Don’t quite understand what all the fuss is about. The quality of the food certainly does not justify the prices charged. Nevertheless, I walked away feeling stuffed but won’t be in any rush to return.
Food + drinks + service = £40-50pp
Till next time…Outskies!