Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Flesh & Buns

Filament light bulbs, queues and communal seating seems to be the theme de rigueur running through the restaurant scene at the moment. 

Strangely enough though, one never actually ends up conversing with the person who has been placed next to them. We merely use each other as guinea pigs so that we can build a rating of each dish in our minds. Most people just glance over and lamely point out: 'That's supposed to be really good here'. Until another plate comes out and they realise that the dish they were thinking of wasn't actually the first one they pointed out. Confusion erupts across the table. Back to square one. Some brave souls actually manage to break-down the social barrier and ask the people next to them what they have had and whether or not it was worth trying. A useless exercise if you ask me. 

You know what? Next time I'm in a restaurant I'm going to skip the first two steps and move straight onto asking if I can have a bite. Let's see how that goes down.

Anyway where were we? Ah yes, Flesh & Buns...

Placed just off the Seven Dials in Covent Garden - a place starved of some decent grub - the arrival of the new restaurant is a welcome sight. Birth-child of Soho's Bone Daddies, it came with great expectations, so when I rolled in there one Wednesday lunchtime I arrived with high hopes.

After entering through the rather over-sized barn door, you can be forgiven for thinking that you have just walked into anything but a restaurant. But when you make yourself down the stairs and into the restaurant itself, you are immediately comforted by the smell of oriental cuisine and a friendly waitress itching to sit you down and show-off the restaurant's delights. 

I must add also that this place is enormous, more filament than you can shake a stick at and dominated by one huge table that runs the full length of the restaurant. There must be space for at least 30 people on there, which more than advocates the idea of surrounding yourself with like-minded people to elevate the vibe.

After we sat down in one of the booths we ordered a couple of beers, some crackers and a bowl of edamame beans whilst we mulled over the menu. The highlight of this for me was the tomato salsa that was presented with the starters. So fresh and vibrant that we managed to get through two boxes of crackers and 4 pots of salsa. We couldn't help ourselves. 

The vibrancy of the food continued throughout the starter, the edamame beans were covered in huge chunks of rock salt, invigorating the taste buds and preparing them for what lay ahead. 

Something that we have got very used to with this new brand of restaurants is the simplicity of the menus, here it is quite large in comparison. It ranges from delicate sushi fish, to grilled meat and chocolate fondants. You almost want it to be just Flesh & Buns, no messing about, after all this is the reason why people come here isn't it? 

After much deliberation we decided to choose one meat each (to share), which was to be accompanied by a number of buns (or so we thought). It transpired that for each plate of meat we would only get 2 buns. This meant that there would be vacant, lonely and redundant pieces of meat left on the plate with no bun for it rest upon. This left us confused, annoyed and irritated. It meant that we would have to order more portions of buns at the rather steep price of £2.50 for 2 buns. 

Anyway rant over... What we were presented with was some truly sensational meat - one BBQ Sirloin Steak and 4 Kimchi Lamb Chops. WOW. 

The only bit of feedback I got from my eating buddy was: 'The only problem with lamb chops is that there is never enough meat on them'. Never has a truer word been said! These were the real deal. 

I'd go as far to say that they were the best lamb chops I have ever eaten. Great quality meat matched with flawless cooking meant that there was wonderfully tender meat underneath a charcoal glaze. I couldn't recommend them higher.

Now some people aren't going to like me for saying this, but the only flaw to this dish was the bun. I mean they have a nice appearance and I love the idea, but after spending the best part of 5 minutes trying to fine-tune the masterpiece above, upon placing it in my mouth I ended up having a chewing fight with myself. After every mouthful I had to use my chopstick to dig out remnants of the bun from my teeth. The contrast in emotions from before and after the first bite was vast: Excitement and anticipation was soon replaced by a warm sticky mess. Some people may see that as a good time. But not me. Not during lunch at least. 

Following the chops we were presented with the sirloin steak. Again - brilliant, the picture speaks for itself. Not much more could be said about this apart from the fact that the sauce it was presented with was much needed and welcomed with open arms. 

Unfortunately we had to skip dessert, but apparently the S'mores are great fun. D.I.Y. melt your own marshmallows in a wafer biscuit with chocolate sauce. A good excuse to come back again.

All in all however I left Flesh & Buns with mixed emotions - happy I came due to the sheer quality of the food, but also quite confused. Mainly because I only liked half of the reason I decided to come. But we live and learn don't we?

Next time it's just 'Flesh' for me...

Square Meal

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