1 August 2014

Flesh and Bunsone star

41 Earlham Street, London WC2H 9LX

£48.00 Japanese Covent Garden

Overall Diner Rating


Based on 6 ratings. Rate it!

  • Wine: £16.50
  • Champagne: £55.00
  • Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 12N-3pm 5-10.30pm (Wed-Fri -11.30pm) Sat-Sun 12N-11.30pm (Sun -9.30pm)

Square Meal Review of Flesh and Buns ?

Inspired by his Soho hit Bone Daddies, Aussie chef Ross Shonhan has opened this rocking izakaya-style joint in Covent Garden. Look for the kooky logo on the black door, then head downstairs to the cavernous basement where a throbbing mix of rock music and Japanese graphics awaits. Kick off with a frozen yuzu margarita, before grazing your way through the trendsetting menu. Sushi is spot on and crispy fried squid with Japanese pepper packs a punch, but star billing goes to the titular pairing of steamed hirata buns and DIY ‘flesh’ fillings – from robata-grilled sea bass with coriander miso and tomato salsa to sweet-fleshed, succulent braised pork belly fired up with mustard miso and pickled apple, all accompanied by a raft of top-notch sakés. After that, have even more hands-on fun with the mischievous S’mores dessert – a chocolate cookie and toasted marshmallow sandwich.

Click here to read our diners’ reviews, or write your own
  1. Flesh and Buns

    41 Earlham Street, London WC2H 9LX
    Overall rating:
    Riddhi B.

    Solid on food, great vibe for night out with friends


    • Food & Drink: 8
    • Service: 8
    • Atmosphere: 10
    • Value: 6

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  2. Flesh and Buns

    41 Earlham Street, London WC2H 9LX
    Overall rating:
    Neil L.



    • Food & Drink: 9
    • Service: 7
    • Atmosphere: 10
    • Value: 7

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  3. Flesh and Buns

    41 Earlham Street, London WC2H 9LX
    Overall rating:
    Simon K.

    We left after 2 minutes


    • Food & Drink: 2
    • Service: 2
    • Atmosphere: 2
    • Value: 2

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  4. Flesh and Buns

    41 Earlham Street, London WC2H 9LX
    Overall rating:
    Allison M.

    Go there


    • Food & Drink: 10
    • Service: 8
    • Atmosphere: 7
    • Value: 8

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  5. Flesh and Buns

    41 Earlham Street, London WC2H 9LX
    Overall rating:
    Sandy R.

    • Food & Drink: 10
    • Service: 9
    • Atmosphere: 7
    • Value: 7

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  1. Published : Wednesday, 14th May 2014

    The Hungry Porker :: Flesh and Buns

    Located in the touristy maze of Seven Dials, I had heard more about the toilets at Flesh and Buns than the food. All I knew was that it was from the same guys behind Bone Daddies, my favourite ramen joint right in the heart of Soho. If Bone Daddies soothes hangovers with its steaming bowls of molten porky bones, then Flesh and Buns is the cause of those hangovers with its fiery Asian junk food that go perfectly with plenty of pints of ice cold Asahi. Set in a dim basement with raw walls this won’t be for everybody. It opened right in the middle of this paired back back, industrial (oh how very New York) trend that us Londoners shoot our load over at the minute. But packed with the din of drunk punters on a Friday night it’s hard not to love the buzz. This probably isn’t the best place for a casual night with the missus, more a place to come after work or with a group of pals looking to kickstart a big night...
    More from The Hungry Porker »

  2. Published : Monday, 3rd March 2014

    Sybaricious :: Flesh and Buns

    Flesh and Buns. It sounds rather sordid before you even arrive doesn't it?  Carnal cuisine. Descending down a staircase beneath a projector screen of manga cartoons you enter through red doors to a buzzy underground room where excess seems to be the order of the day. At one end of the long narrow hangar of a restaurant is a bar with Asahi on tap and row upon row of sake. At the other is the kitchen, open to the floor and populated by an array of generally rather tasty chefs churning out plate upon plate of glistening meat and steaming sweet hirata buns. in between the two sits a long high canteen style table populated by an array of different people. Lots of homesick Japanese girls relishing the type of food rarely seen outside the land of the rising sun, some random rockers with long hair and enough earrings to cause havoc at a Heathrow metal detector, confused looking tourists, groups of gossiping girls and the ubiquitous beardy hipster. In summary, there is something here for everyone. Yes, its street food best eaten with your fingers, yes, the conversation is loud and the atmosphere bustling so no, don't take your Mum or a business meeting; the lack of table manners required to communicate and eat would likely horrify both. Second or third date however, and this might be your ideal place.  I've learnt my lesson the hard way with these quick and dirty street food style places, based on recent experiences at Chicken Shop and Dip & Flip; don't go for the wine. That's probably a slightly unreasonable prejudice here as the wine list is more extensive than I expected but I'm going down the sake and cocktail route tonight. I kicked off with ume no yado (or sake blended with yuzu juice to you and me) and bar a brief stray into lychee martini territory, the sake is where I stayed for the rest of the evening. F&B is always destined to be a place where your eyes are bigger than your stomach. Seeing (and smelling) plate upon plate drift past the table en route to hungry tummies, we overdo the ordering. The waitress recommends two or three small plates and one main course. We laugh. One main course seems bonkers so a second one is added. The menu is so good that we could easily have ordered twice as much again. We leave fit to burst. Prawn tempura is not cheap for a starter at £12 but by the time we'd devoured them felt like good value. Five absolutely giant prawns in a light, crispy batter come with a yuzu dressing sharp enough to make your whole face pucker up. Tuna tataki was seared gently around the edges served with a lurid green jalapeno sauce just the right side of spicy. As tempting as it was to carry on working our way through the small plate section (fried squid with japanese pepper and lime and the grilled asparagus with sweet miso will be definitely be getting eaten on my next visit) but there is the small matter of meat to attend to.I'm utterly confident that a mushroom has never made me swear out loud before. It was so good it was ridiculous. Deep and smoky shitake meatiness stuffed with a sesame wafu dressing on yakitori sticks. The only time I have ever tasted anything remotely close to this (and even then it wasn't as good) was in an izakaya on Omoide Yokocho in Tokyo. So onto the meat. Roast piglet belly is succulent and juicy with a crispy skin on top cut into the most perfectly straight strips ready to pop into the buns. Served with a sweet mustard miso sauce and super thin slices of pickled apple they are like the best sort of oriental twist on a hog roast. The hirata buns are soft and fluffy and hot enough to burn your fingerprints off.  The salad was completely surplus to requirements the pickled something or other that comes with each "flesh" option is enough to cut through the grease and provide a bit of a tang. Apologies for the fact my only photo of a stuffed bun is one I had rather childishly poked eyes in.....The duck was shredded at the table like at a Chinese and had properly crispy skin. A sour plum soy sauce  and shredded beetroot took it one step beyond the usual cucumber and hoi sin and the hirata buns are waaaaaay superior to the usual floury little pancakes. Sitting at our table smacking our sticky lips and rubbing swollen bellies, anyone might have thought we were ready to throw in the towel but the problem was that I had heard about the S'mores. S'mores have been much publicised but with good reason. A charcoal burner is brought to the table with your raw ingredients.  I am the god of hell fire and I bring you..... S'MORES. You get a slab of marshmallow on a stick which you toast good old campfire style over a fire pot. Having not done this since I was a kid I had forgotten quite what a fine art it is, hover for too long and it sets fire and you're huffing and puffing it out, too little and its not melty enough. or as L put it "quite flammable little buggers aren't they?" Just as its about to drop off the stick or completely incinerarate into charcoal you slap it on a biscuit, top with the green tea chocolate and sandwich with another biscuit. Kinako donuts are unusual little beasts, quite hard on the outside and more savoury than you expect (although that might be because my teeth were still smarting from the sweetness of the s'mores) the sugar coating is made from finely powdered kinako soya beans mixed with powdered sugar. Filled with a creamy paste they are nonetheless pretty darned good. A special mention has to go to the toilets, all decorated with manga cartoons. The photo above is one of the less graphic ones so if you do go to Flesh & Buns (and you absolutely must) make sure you pay them a visit.I adore Flesh & Buns. It really is a first for London providing a truly accessible mainstream experience with genuine Japanese food that goes beyond the average perception of sushi and ramen as being the totality of all things Japanese, there is so much more (although go to sister restaurant Bone Daddies for great examples of ramen too).So Flesh & Buns, it's sticky, its messy, its loud and it makes you groan and exclaim with pleasure, almost carnal after all then. They are currently offering a flesh, bun and beer offer for £15 on Mondays when you reserve in advance (yes, they take reservations- even better!) so there's no excuse not to get down there and indulge.Flesh & Buns41 Earlham St, London WC2H 9LX020 7632 9500
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  3. Published : Monday, 10th February 2014

    Wrap Your Lips Around This :: Flesh and Buns

    A little playground humour is always appreciated, and so the explicitly named Flesh and Buns has a certain titillating appeal. This is not enough, however, to warrant a visit. In fact a restaurant thus titled seems less likely to be of any value on the food front, when the tone is already set for sensationalism and flippancy. The fear of being at risk of a gimmick is overridden, however, when the legend of a certain dessert makes itself known to me. This dessert of promised pleasure involves fire and my undivided attention. Its name is simply the s’more, and it consists of marshmallow lollipops held over a table-top flame to toast. The resulting sugar-goo-gunk (the technical term) is then sandwiched between biscuits and green tea flavoured white chocolate. The hot mallow smelts itself onto chocolate and wafer with ease, ready to be devoured...
    More from Wrap Your Lips Around This »

  4. Published : Friday, 31st January 2014

    S.W. Foodie :: Flesh and Buns - Sushi, Hirata and s

    So, recently I have been craving clean, lean and healthy foods... what better way to kick this than to find a restaurant where flesh is their name and meat is their game. Flesh and Buns is the baby sister to that of incredibly successful tummy warming Bone Baddies whose Tonkotsu is one of the best I've eaten. Knowing this, I was definitely in for a treat in a whole other dimension...
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  5. Our visit to Flesh & Buns was much better than expected. Flesh & Buns hits the spot when it comes to Asian soul food. All the dishes we tried during our visit were very good and their pork belly in a bun was uber-sumptuous. For once, the hype surrounding a restaurant is real and fully justified...
    More from FoodiesOnTheProwl FoodiesOnTheProwl »

  6. Published : Sunday, 12th January 2014

    The Hedonist :: Flesh & Buns – Review

    In a bare industrial basement near Covent Garden’s Seven Dials is Ross Shohan’s latest restaurant Flesh & Buns. Shohan was head chef at Nobu and more recently opened Bone Daddies, Soho’s hippest Ramen joint (Japanese noodles for the uninitiated)-but his new place specialises in Hirata. …OK don’t all put your hands up at once…Hirata are Taiwanese buns which you stuff with some salad, some meat or fish and some sauce. And that’s about that for the mains...
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  7. Flesh and Buns is the latest Izakaya restaurant by the people from Bone Daddies, the successful ramen restaurant founded by chef Ross Shonhan who previously worked at Nobu and Zuma. The concept of Flesh and Buns centres around hirata buns, folded steamed buns commonly filled with pork. Here, you have a choice of different fillings, all of which are accompanied by salad, a sauce and pickles. You create your own buns here, filling them however you wish. And as a precursor to the buns, there are also a choice of raw dishes, snacks and small dishes...
    More from A Girl Has to Eat - Restaurant Reviews & Food Guide »

  8. Flesh and Buns is the latest Izakaya restaurant by the people from Bone Daddies, the successful ramen restaurant founded by chef Ross Shonhan who previously worked at Nobu and Zuma. The concept of Flesh and Buns centres around hirata buns, folded steamed buns commonly filled with pork. Here, you have a choice of different fillings, all of which are accompanied by salad, a sauce and pickles. You create your own buns here, filling them however you wish. And as a precursor to the buns, there are also a choice of raw dishes, snacks and small dishes. Flesh and Buns has a common appeal. Not only is its concept of ‘flesh and buns’ original, the décor is funky and appealing with a buzzy vibe...
    More from A Girl Has to Eat - Restaurant Reviews & Food Guide »

  9. Carnivorous gnashing to a heavy metal soundtrack? Yee-aye-uh! Who knew going out for Japanese comfort food could provide such a rawkin’ good time? The folks behind Flesh & Buns apparently. I had a lot of fun during my dine at the new(ish)ly opened Flesh & Buns izakaya restaurant back before Christmas. From the same lot of Soho restaurant smarty pants behind the exceptionally successful Bone Daddies ramen bar, the cavernous Seven Dials eatery offers a street food menu with a East Asian style buns as the star of the show. I loved the crispy piglet belly buns (with mustard miso and pickled apple, £14.50) and the lamb chops (with kimchi spice and pickled carrots, £19.50). Beyond the buns, there’s a range of small bites and sharing dishes along with sushi and sashimi, cocktails and more...
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  10. Published : Thursday, 5th December 2013

    Saying it straight :: Flesh and Buns.

    Flesh and Buns. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a restaurant name. Or even my last. Had I not known it was the sister restaurant to the very lovely Bone Daddies, the Soho noodle bar, I wouldn’t have given it a second look. But having had one of the very best bowls of noodles that I have ever had in my whole life ever ever, (honestly, you must try it, even though you might feel ridiculous amongst all those youthful beards), I was prepared to overlook the irritating name. Almost. It alienates me, frankly and I feel stupid saying it to people...
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  11. For a change we decided to head to Flesh & Buns, which is a subterranean restaurant a hop, skip and jump away from Seven Dials. Set up by the Bone Daddies crew, Flesh & Buns is a Izakaya -style joint (that, between you and I, is a Japanese eating and drinking establishment – a pub, I like to call them but this is probably quite far from what a Izakaya is, but I don’t know – never been to Japan, innit). Inside, there are loooong high tables, and more exclusive-looking booths. I was on the high table with the rabble, obvz. It’s worth noting that I walked in at about 7pm and got a table no problem. It was probably mid-week, so hardly crazy-town busy time but still, not to be glossed over...
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  12. After enjoying a simply delicious crispy pollock-filled hirata bun from YumBun last week, it’s safe to say I’ve been lured into the one of the biggest food trends to have appeared in London this year. Steam hirata buns continue to boom and are increasingly making an appearance on menus at restaurants such as Flesh & Buns. I’d heard lots about Flesh & Buns as a trendy, fun place to dine with equally as enjoyable food, so I booked us girls in for dinner one weekday evening. After a slight misunderstanding with our booking (the waitress had no knowledge of squaremeal.co.uk which we used to book) we were found a table and ordered some small but tasty cocktails. I also ordered chips n’ dips while I was waiting for the others to arrive. I loved the poppadom-like style of the chips and the avocado dip was pretty tasty too...
    More from Livelifelovecake »

  13. this is somewhere that almost became my favourite restaurant before i'd even been. you know that feeling? where you just know as soon as you get there that you're going to want the whole menu? i'm absolutely enamored by japanese and chinese inspired cuisine, so as soon as i saw these steamed buns all over instagram i instantly knew i needed to try them. i realise these have probably been all over the place in the big smoke but coming from a little leicestershire town it's a real treat for me. i was down in london this week, luckily a couple of days before my birthday, and so it was the perfect excuse for grace and i to go wild on salmon, soya beans and steamed buns at flesh & buns!...
    More from emily's recipes and reviews »

  14. Published : Thursday, 17th October 2013

    Drifting Epicure :: Flesh & Buns

    “Dear child has many names” is a Swedish saying that fits perfectly for Gua bao. Also known as Hirata bun in English it can be called 割包, 刈包 or 掛包 in Chinese. My favourite though is 虎咬豬, simply translating into ‘tiger eats pig’ because of the shape of the bun (often) with pork as filling. This Taiwanese dish entered the London food scene not too long ago and to my understanding been quite well received. I have only tried it once before in London at Yum Bun which is more of a take away place with a few seats by the windows. This weekend I decided to give Flesh & Buns a go with a friend. It’s founded by the same people as the ramen joint Bone Daddies. Bone Daddies is probably my favourite place for ramen so I was looking forward to their interpretation of gua bao...
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  15. The man behind Flesh & Buns and Bone Daddies, Ross Shonhan once described making tonkotsu ramen as being like melting a pig into a bowl. At Flesh & Buns they don’t melt anything, they just put it in a steamed bun. Damn good it is too!...
    More from London Piggy »

  16. Published : Thursday, 12th September 2013

    The Celeriac :: Flesh and Buns, Covent Garden

    Fancy Japanese food with a side order of deafening rock music? Head to Flesh and Buns, a brand new and very edgy eatery in Covent Garden. The man behind the madness is Ross Shonhan, who is also responsible for rock and roll ramen restaurant Bone Daddies. His latest offering has done the impossible in London – by creating something totally unique, that really works!...
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  17. It took a while for me to spot the place, on the black wooden door the tongue in cheek name “Flesh and Buns” text painted with the very familiar logo also used for “Bones Daddies”. The 150-seat Izakaya-style restaurant situated below street level is a lot bigger then bone daddies...
    More from The Food Connoisseur »

  18. Published : Thursday, 5th September 2013

    Agent Restauranteur :: Flesh and Buns – London WC2H

    Flesh and Buns is the newest venture from the guys behind Bone Daddies (which serves super ramen for those who don’t know). Located in a basement in Seven Dials, it is very easy to walk past, as both my fellow diners soon discovered. A hint, look for the massive sign for Flesh and Buns on Earlham St...
    More from Agent Restauranteur »

  19. Published : Tuesday, 3rd September 2013

    little swallow : china doll :: Flesh & Buns, Covent Garden

    Bloggers all over London have been raving about Flesh & Buns, so of course we had to go check out what all the fuss was about. I fell in love with hirata buns at Momofuku in NYC so I was pretty damn excited for the main course. Steaming buns are served up to your table for you to stuff full of whatever meat takes your fancy...
    More from little swallow : china doll »

  20. Gua bao, or hirata buns if you will, have received a lot of attention due to the launch of Flesh and Buns. This Covent Garden restaurant is from the people behind ramen joint Bone Daddies, but it isn’t the first London eatery to serve gua bao; nor is it the best either. I’ve spent the past couple weeks hunting down every gua bao in London searching for the perfect combination of soft, fluffy, slightly chewy buns filled with moist, fatty, flavoursome meat...
    More from The Picky Glutton »

  21. Since hearing that chef proprietor of Bone Daddies, Ross Shonhan, was opening up a new Japanese izakaya-style restaurant in Covent Garden, I knew I had to be there in a heartbeat. Although I haven’t yet managed to try the ever so famous Bone Daddies, Flesh & Buns is conveniently placed in Covent Garden, just around the corner from where I work...
    More from Ramblings of a Food Addict »

  22. Published : Sunday, 18th August 2013

    SamTheFoodFan :: Flesh & Buns

    From the same people that brought us Bone Daddies Ramen Bar (read my review here), comes the new Japanese Izakaya Flesh & Buns. For those wondering what the heck an Izakaya is, Wikipedia explains it here. Situated in the heart of Covent Garden, the new restaurant is a huge space with a large communal table in the centre, booths on the outsides and smaller tables in between. Bestie and I were seated at the long communal table in the centre, I was initially a little disappointed because straight away it reminded me of that other Japanese chain, Wagamama. But thankfully that is where the similarity ends. It took us ages to decide what to eat; there was nothing on the menu that did not excite me. If I had a bigger stomach and a bigger wallet, I would have ordered every single item! The menu is designed for sharing and in the end we went with the waitress’s recommendations of 2 starters and 1 “Flesh and Buns”. We needed to leave room for dessert as I had heard a lot of good things about them...
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  23. Published : Monday, 12th August 2013

    wetrykai :: Flesh and Buns - Here come the Hirata

    Located just off Seven Dials, Flesh and Buns (the sister restaurant of the ever-popular ramen restaurant Bone Daddies) is set to become a permanent fixture in the London food culture offering to be the dealer for all us current and future bun addicts. As I headed underground (after the massive painted doors assured me I’d arrived at the correct location) and got shown to my place at the long table, I couldn’t help but get caught up in the lively atmosphere. The music was pumping; the service was friendly and prompt; all key ingredients for a good time. Now I just had to hope the food came to the party. Well, it not only came, but it parachuted in, landed in the middle of the dance floor, started cutting shapes like no one’s business and then proceeded to buy everyone a round (so yea, it was pretty good)...
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  24. Published : Friday, 9th August 2013

    Samphire and Salsify :: Flesh and Buns

    Flesh and Buns is a new Japanese restaurant in Covent Garden and is the creation of Ross Shonan who also owns Bone Daddies ramen bar in Soho. It’s based on the Japanese Izakayas (I’ve never heard of them either) which are bars that serve food to accompany the drinks – which are really popular in Japan apparently...
    More from Samphire and Salsify »

  25. Just 9 months after introducing Soho to 'Rock n Roll ramen', Bone Daddies chef and founder Ross Shonhan has opened a 150 seat Izakaya-style restaurant in Covent Garden. I caught up with Alex Palumbo, bar manager to find out more about the drinks and his plans for the bar at Flesh and Buns...
    More from Tuck & Vine - Tuck and Vine »

Essential Details for Flesh and Buns

  • Address: 41 Earlham Street, London WC2H 9LX
  • Telephone: 020 7632 9500
  • Website:
  • Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 12N-3pm 5-10.30pm (Wed-Fri -11.30pm) Sat-Sun 12N-11.30pm (Sun -9.30pm)

Location of Flesh and Buns

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  • Main Restaurant

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