Most of the menu here suggests a Japanese izakaya dining experience but the kitchen also dishes up cream sauce pastas. The drinks list is equally erratic – a mishmash of wines, sake and a single Thai-style cocktail (in case you’re wondering, it’s a shot of Thai brandy served in a young coconut, $80). It’s confusing. But it also works, mainly because the food here is done so well.
Kushiyaki skewers arrive perfectly seasoned and succulent. We love the thin-cut ox tongue ($40), which is melt-in-your-mouth and flecked with just enough salt. Aside from the standard chicken, pork and beef, F also grills up curls of crocodile (tastes like chicken, $50) and turkey testicles (cue giggle, $40) and dusts them off with shichimi togarashi. You also get wedges of ‘sparkling’ pineapple ($25), which are lightly seared then sprinkled with pink pop rocks that fizz away in the mouth. And while we’re on the grilled provisions, we also recommend ordering something from the daily market-fresh menu. The salted hokke fish ($88) is brilliant, dried overnight then grilled until the skin becomes crisp and smoky.
Order a round of sea snails cooked in a chilli-spiked wine and miso base ($78). The molluscs remain tender but the real stars here are the yam bundles and twists of konnyaku (konjac jelly) that soak up the broth’s spicy, savoury goodness. Also go for the bite-sized tamago egg rolls ($108), which come with a generous spread of spicy mentaiko (marinated pollock roe) sandwiched in the centre.
F feels like a restaurant with an identity crisis but that hasn’t stopped it from plating up some pretty tasty things. Come here if you don’t mind mixing and matching your dishes and maybe even drinking brandy out of a coconut. Dorothy So
51 Peel St, Soho, 2104 9338. Mon-Fri 11.30am-2.30pm, 6pm-midnight & sat 6pm-midnight. Closed Sun. Dinner for two: around $700.
51 Peel St