In a capacious Covent Garden basement, brilliant Asian-inspired food with an emphasis on fill-your-own Taiwanese steamed buns.
How did food get quite so rock ’n’ roll? This summer London’s teeming with ‘gourmet’ fast food joints, rooftop pop-up bars, night food markets and street food vendors. This new wave of edgier eateries are changing the game for restaurateurs too – crisp tablecloths and prim service are out, industrial-chic décors and young, liberally pierced and tattooed staff are in.
One chef who’s at the fore of the latest trends is Ross Shonhan. His first solo venture, Bone Daddies, is a self-styled ‘rock and roll’ ramen joint that opened just last year. It’s still making a big noise, literally, with New York-style Japanese noodle dishes and the sound system cranked up loud enough to make conversation a challenge.
Hidden in a capacious Covent Garden basement, Shonhan’s second venture is no less modish. Once again he’s taken influence from the Big Apple for his East Asian eats, with a side order of loud rock music. As for the décor and staff: see above.
This time the focus of the menu is hirata buns. A US interpretation of a Taiwanese street food, the sweet and fluffy dough is folded then steamed before being brought to the table. Diners then stuff these pockets with their choice of ‘flesh’. These are the signature dish, and a must-try. Mustard miso and a few slices of subtly pickled apple were a perfect foil for tender pulled pork. Crisp-skinned grilled sea bass was also skilfully cooked and served with a fresh tomato salsa.
Small plates include sushi rolls, contemporary sashimi and tempura, but we skipped these to save space for the impressive desserts. The Flesh and Buns version of the North American camping treat, s’mores, is a hoot as you get to toast your own marshmallows on a Japanese table top brazier. These are then sandwiched between a caramely biscuit, with a slice of white chocolate laced with matcha green tea. The kinako doughnuts, made with roasted soya bean flour, were another highlight, filled with oozy black sugar custard.
If loud guitar music and DIY dining are not your idea of a relaxing meal, then Flesh and Buns is not for you. If, however, you’re a dedicated follower of the latest food fashions, then Flesh & Buns should be next on your hit list.
|Venue name:||Flesh & Buns||Contact:|
41 Earlham Street
|Opening hours:||Mon-Tue noon-3pm & 5-10pm; Wed-Fri noon-3pm & 5-11pm; Sat 5-11pm; Sun noon-9.30pm|
|Transport:||Tube: Covent Garden tube|
|Price:||Main courses £13-£24|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
3.5 / 5
- 5 star:14
- 4 star:20
- 3 star:12
- 2 star:4
- 1 star:8
Everything we ate was delicious. The food came quickly but not too quickly. My personal favourites were the sea bass and the donuts.
Great restaurant for a fun buzzy meal. All food was delicious, from the broccoli starter to the meat/fish with the buns. The bau buns are great. Not too expensive. Very loud and staff are pretty slow and unhelpful - hence not 5 stars
Forget Eggs Benedict, forget pancakes and dare I say it but forget avo on toast. Flesh and Buns Sunday bottomless brunch is where it's at.
I have a few tips for approaching this Asian feast.
1) Bring more than two people. The more people you have the more food you can actually try without both of you getting full up.
2) Choose the more expensive menu. It's not that much of a price difference and you get ALL THE FOOD. From both menus.
3) You can have a choice of unlimited prosecco or red/white wine. Prosecco wins because there is more food room.
4) Don't order the same main. The first time I went we all had the steak. Big mistake. We were already full from the endless supply of starters (who knew sashimi could be so filling) so it also meant we all left half a steak nearly. Get different dishes and share some more!
5) Check out the toilets. Pretty awesome.
Now for the food:The deal includes sharing starters, a main each, a sharing dessert, unlimited booze and a cocktail on arrival.
You can choose an unlimited supply of starters so we basically had everything. The mixed sashimi was a clear winner as was the yellowtail sashimi served with green chilli. Softshell crab was another contender and we ordered a few of these once we knew we were onto a good thing. Remember you can order from BOTH menus so don't be sidetracked by one side.
Both times I went I had a variety of steak for my main, but my guests had the duck leg which was cooked to perfection. They come with Asian buns but I couldn't fit them in after nearly eating the kitchen's worth of sushi.
For dessert we chose the s'mores and chocolate fondant. Found room for those bad boys.
You leave drunk, full and very very happy. They do warn you not to order too much because of food wastage but I don't think they were expecting my foodie family. We ate everything.
Staff are extremely rude, the food was salty and overpriced. The music was so loud and the drinks were awful. You might want to skip this one it is just overpriced and extremely loud.
Myself and 3 other friends came here for the Sunday brunch which is bottomless. WOW! I had never been before and I enjoyed every second. Great value for money, so much food and so tasty!
As a pescatarian, a restaurant called Flesh and Buns made me fear I'd be going home hungry. But I'm pleased to report that everything was delicious (from the blackened Salmon to the many many cocktails I drank). Great place to take mates or dates. The bill at the end was a bit of a shock, but I probably took my eye off the ball during the many many cocktails!
This is a cute place to eat, it was very buzzy with a great vibe. Myself and some friends went here recently and it was my first time. I had some lovely crispy chicken wings, and the lamb was great. I just wasn't a huge fan of the buns..
This basement restaurant is a must experience for those looking for something different when eating out. The industrial decoration and the cool stuff are just a plus to the great dishes. As a large party we ordered several kinds of flesh to fill our buns and all of them were exciting! Either for a celebration or a casual occasion this place can satisfy all needs.
I was so excited to visit Flesh and Buns and perhaps this got my expectations up a bit too high. The buns are beautiful, soft and warm and leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy like a hug for your belly. The flesh left a lot to be desired, I ordered the chicken and my partner in crime the steak. I had to send the chicken back as it came out with blood in the middle and the steak also went back as it was cold. The service was abysmal, the staff are difficult to get the attention of and quite frankly could not have cared less when we had to send the food back. The only saving grace were the frozen margaritas but even they're not enough to get me to return, sorry F&B you've left this gal's heart broken.
People told me that this was a great place to go for lunch and I was excited. My initial thoughts when walking down to the restaurant was that I was walking into a strip club and actually that is what my guests were thinking also. The restaurant was probably a bit dark and decadent for lunch but the staff were all very nice and the service great. I felt that for the cost of our meal the portions were small and I left the restaurant hungry. It was nice, it was different, it was not bad at all but when I left I was wondering if I had missed something and what all the fuss was about.
You can always tell how good somewhere is by what the toilets are like. Judging by the loos at Flesh & Buns (which were very clean in case you were wondering), this place is a cheeky, comic book spectacle of a restaurant with lots to wow at. Definitely worth a visit (not just for the loos, but go check them out for the posters inside), the food is incredible - we shared five of the big dishes between four (the duck was the best) - and, although they suggest two buns per person, three is probably more realistic as you'll want to try everything on the menu.
Essentially they have taken a great simple dish and made it more expensive and bland. For the price of around £18 for a small to medium main with 2 buns i would expect more(That's just one person). We ordered the duck and the pork belly. The pork belly was the winner as it was actually quite tasty, but there there wasn't much of it. Deserts we tried the smores which was a nice fun concept and actually quite fun. Overall if you want some great buns, China town is right around the corner, where even the cheapest place will be tastier than this and you won't have to wait too long to be seated.
Starters were fine but the mains were mediocre at best - what a disappointment. Service was also weak and the overall environment was unduly noisy - I like atmosphere but my ears were ringing when i left the restaurant and all three of us were relieved. Best thing there was the cocktail.
Flesh & Buns have ruined what was meant to be a double wedding party by double booking us and then cancelling our plans less than a week before the event. The table was booked more than three weeks ago... They offered little to appease in the face of their stunning incompetence. Anyone else got a table for 10 this Friday?
I arrived earlier and ordered the 'not quite so bramble' (a non alcoholic yummy blackberry concoction of some sort) and the soft shelled crab with a jalapeño mayo dressing while I was waiting because I was starving. It was really crunchy and the dish was delicious. My partner then arrived and we had the tuna tataki that the waitress recommended as well as the pork bones. The tataki didn't hit the right spot for me, I've had much better executed ones elsewhere. The pork bones on the other hand was ah-mazing. I expected little soft bones but these were ribs. They were very tasty with shallots and a barbecue sauce. We then had the spicy beef rice served in a hot stone bowl and the grilled sea bass bun with pickles. The spicy hot stone beef rice is a nice twist from the traditional korean bibimbab, I'd definitely go back for it. The sea bass didn't go well with the pickles, the miso sauce was a tad salty for me and I wouldn't order it again if I were to revisit. Overall, the service was pretty good, although it seemed a little haphazard at times because despite the abundant staff on the floor, it still takes a while for anyone to notice you at your table. Having said that, the waitress who served us was very attentive and patient. She took us through the menu after knowing it was our first time to the restaurant, if anything I was slightly impatient because it was late- 9:30pm by the time we ordered, and my stomach was churning!!! We had too much and didn't get to try the desserts. It was roughly £60 altogether for the two of us. It's worth a visit but I would stick to ordering the meat dishes in general.
The staff were very nice and service minded. The venue was also nice, a communal table in the middle gave the venue an interesting look. However, the drinks were awful, we tried three drinks, and two had way too much alcohol. It felt like a bad home made drink. The food was ok, but nothing particular. The ribs were quite good, but the fried squid was just boring. After two dishes we left for another place to finish our Friday dinner.
Im sure the food could be great but we never got that far. If the girl at the door tells you there's not much of a wait, she's lying. We waited over an hour, not really my definition of "not long at all" If she told the truth from the beginning at least we'd have been prepared. We gave up when it became obvious that the hordes of people around us waiting were not just made up of drop ins like us, but also people with delayed reservations. Arrived at 8, left at 9.20, when the couple next to us said they were still being fobed off about when they'd get to sit down for their 9 o clock reservation.