The second site for this marmite take on a Japanese izakaya restaurant finds its home in Fitzrovia, in a much larger space than the Covent Garden original. Guests sit on tightly-packed tables, while there are booths for large groups, or counter seats in front of the open kitchen for solo diners and those looking to get close to the action.
From a varied and tempting menu, start with impressively moreish snacks such as the ‘chips and dip’ which swap out tortilla crisps for chewy rice crackers, dipped in smashed avocado and a spicy tomato jalapeño. Next up, there’s crispy fried squid which is laced with chilli, while indulgent sticky-glazed chicken yakitori skewers offer a reprise from the heat.
From the ‘flesh and buns’ section, guests can choose between the likes of duck, rabbit or aubergine, each big enough to share between two. Pile your filling (we opted for the luscious pork belly) into the light and fluffy steamed hirata buns, while washing it all down with cocktails served in quirky vessels, including a porcelain version of a Lucky Cat. Prefer stronger stuff? There’s a varied selection of sake and Japanese whiskies too.
The loud and boisterous atmosphere is buoyed along by playful elements, such as the ‘Press for Pisco’ buttons on every table. Push these and you’ll soon find a mixologist by your side, whipping up a Pisco Sour from a cocktail trolley. This sense of fun is also seen in the dessert offering, which includes a delicious set of D-I-Y s’mores: passion fruit flavoured marshmallows, sandwiched between Graham crackers and squares of almond chocolate.
The fast-paced style of Flesh & Buns won’t be for everyone (and neither will the robust prices), but it’s definitely lots of fun.