Kinako French toast with matcha soft serve (above) must be the most photographed dessert in Western/Asian fusion history. Ever since these snaps began to dominate social media I have been desperate to visit Shackfuyu.
On a few occasions I tried to get a table. But the place has become so popular I failed to actually make it through the doors 3 times in a row. Fortunately, sister restaurant Flesh and Buns is just down the road so I still got my fill of great steamed buns and sticky wings. But my heart yearned for that French toast!
Now i’m not saying that has become like a religious place or anything, but maybe getting into Shackfuyu is the same as when Charlotte tries to covert Judaism in Sex and The City – you have to show dedication and try three times before being allowed in. Or perhaps I shouldn’t underestimate the powers of Japanese/French toast and soft serve on Twitter in making a London restaurant impossible to get in to.
But I’ve gotta hand it to Twitter – without it I wouldn’t have posted a photo of my braised pork belly steamed bun at Flesh and Buns and in turn wouldn’t have been made aware in a response that Shakfuyu was reopening as a permanent restaurant, celebrating with 5 days of 50% off Yoshoku nosh.
Shackfuyu’s Junk ‘n’ Soul food is fun and very clever, combining some really exotic sounding but trustworthy Japanese, Chinese and Korean classics with well known Western comfort food. You just can’t leave without discovering new ingredients, flavour combination or completely new way of thinking about a certain dish – it also made me realize how little I know about Japanese food after ramen and sushi.
The beauty of Shackfuyu is not quite knowing exactly what you’re ordering until its sitting in front of you in all its wacky, technicolour glory. But if you are planning on going and want some recommendations, or are feeling a little daunted by their menu, here are some of our favourite dishes that you have to try:
What to eat
Korean fried wings
I became a little obsessed with Korean fried chicken after visiting Liverpool St pop-up Izahi bar Beer & Buns. Then I decided to try and make my own after reading a fabulous recipe for PKFC (Peckham Korean Fried Chicken) wings by Helen Graves. After a few disastrous attempts, from chicken wings that puffed up like battered cod to a deep fat fryer ruined by a layer of batter with a naked wing bobbing up and down in the hot fat, I finally found the winning formula. They need to be juicy not soggy, with batter crisp enough to help the Korean chilli glaze stick to the wing, but not so thick that the raw batter comes away from the skin.
The wings at Shackfuyu are knarly with a really light crunchy batter, which soaks up a really sticky sweet and smokey chilli sauce. The chicken inside is plump and tender and there’s enough sauce left to mop up with your already messy fingers.
Prawn toast masquerading as okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese street food snack made of a big fried omlette topped with anything from mayo and cheese to seaweed, noodles and smoked meat and fish. The most interesting component is katsuobushi, dried smoked tuna shavings that start off soft and become tough and chewy once they hit your tongue – like a fish jerky! The fish jerky flakes react to the heat of the prawn toast and begin to curl and move about like mood fish from a Christmas cracker – it’s bizarre, and a little creepy. But the taste is fabulously savoury and smokey, perfect with the nutty sesame and sweet whole prawns nestled in their toast beneath.
Kinako French Toast with soft serve
It was long anticipated so I was a little fearful that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. But it was just as flamboyant and utterly delicious as the photographs had advertised. The French toast was sweet and cinnamony, with a pillow-soft custard middle and a gnarly, nutty crust on the outside, just like every good French toast should have. The green tea soft serve was soft, creamy and looked like a cross between Mr Whippy and The Incredible Hulk. perfect match against the buttery crunch of the toast. The green tea in the ice cream has a wonderful clean, bitter hum, and makes the whole thing a lot less sickly sweet. You just cant beat a hot, sweet and spiced dessert with cool, smooth ice cream -it’s a timeless classic – and this banger combines Japanese tea with European pain perdu and to make a dessert that runs circles around your average bread and butter pudding with vanilla ice cream.
Find Shackfuyu at 14a Old Compton St, London W1D 4TJ.
They now do bookings so make sure you book in advance as queues can be cray!
Tweet or Instagram sexy pictures of your meal with the hashtag #FOODADDY for the chance to win a £50 meal at either Shackfuyu, Flesh and Buns or Bone Daddies. I did and won, so it’s definitely worth a go.
Prawn toast masquerading as okonomiyaki (left), wild cornish seabass – orange miso (right)
Monkfish cheeks – chilli pepper – lemon mayo
Iberico pork pluma – spring onion – black pepper miso
Lamb neck fillet – kimchee tare