Friday

Flesh and Buns - Sushi, Hirata and s'mores


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. 

The brother and I fancied a chin wag mid week and knowing our love of sushi and also wanting to take him somewhere 'weird and wonderful' I thought instantly of Flesh and Buns. It's relaxed, rough around the edges and fun housed in one of the old cellars the rooms is pretty dramatic too...we were there early doors at 6:15pm...



We decided on a nibble of 'chips and dip' which are basically enormous fried crackers served with an avocado dip and a chilli tomato dip.



We wanted to try a couple of the starters and looking at other tables many couples seemed to share three or four between them. We decided on two so as not to stuff ourselves before the 'buns'. 

Our choices were:

The Soft shell crab roll with jalapeƱo mayo and chives was one of the most crisp and delicate tempura batters I have ever eaten, the crab legs flailing in the air it looked fantastic and was delicious. 





Opting for something a little lighter was the excellent and extremely beautiful sashimi platter (salmon, tuna and yellow tail).






The high table in the middle by now was teaming with people all on different stages of their meal. Spying the buns we were beginning to get excited for what was to come. 


From the menu, you choose your flesh for your buns (although you can have rice) and there's a choice of 10 (fish or meat) all of which are served with lettuce, cucumber, sauce and pickles. Hearing fantastic things we went for the crispy piglet belly with mustard miso and raw pickled apple. 



You get your little fluffed up cloud of a bun (2 per person is more then enough), open, smear sauce, lettuce, pickles and then your flesh... take a bite



The pork was succulent, incredibly well cooked, not too fatty and the perfect amount of crispy crackling to give the bun a fantastic crunch. The meat literally melts in your mouth and the sauce the perfect sweet accompaniment. This was both my bro and I's favourite of the evening.

OH MY GOODNESS...



Our other choice of flesh was the crispy duck leg, served with a sour plum sauce and beetroot pickle. The meat again, perfectly cooked, incredibly juicy and deliciously naughty crisp skin. The only issue was that the pork stood out so much that this lost it's wow factor a little. However on it's own or against another dish it probably would have held center stage, as it was really good!





The only issue with this type of food is that your meal never lasts long enough. Wanting a little while longer with my No. 1 bro we ordered dessert to share...

A fire pit arrived...


Followed by marshmallows, biscuits and a green tea chocolate to make our DIY s'mores!


You toast your marshmallow until caramelised and bubbling, the smell is absolutely divine!


You then sandwich this between the biscuits and chocolate and enjoy...


An incredibly innovative and delicious ending to an extremely fun, unique and fantastic meal! Flesh and Buns is a great place for every type of meal, although next time, I'll definitely be getting stuck into the cocktails!

Our meal for two came just shy of £80 including drinks and service. 


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Wednesday

Tartufo - modern Europen food for a steal in Sloane Square


Tartufo is a restaurant that isn't hugely known but most definitely should be. Nestled just off Sloane Street within The No. 11 hotel basement it's not the easiest to find, but once you discover it I can be sure you'll be going back. 

All I have heard about Tartufo's food is what excellent value and how intriguing the menu is alongside decently priced wines... I was (obviously) sold.

Mr D and I were a little tipsy last Friday after one too many G n T's and were in need of some food - mainly to soften the headache that was inevitably going to creep up on up me the following morning! Racing around Soho and Fitzrovia to find the likes of Bubbledogs and Pizza Pilgrims jam packed I called ahead at 9:15pm and managed to get a 'no show' table for Tartufo - perfect!

Peeing down with rain, we got lost - the joys of a hidden gem!

We arrived, soaked, and were greeted by a charming front of house who took our coats swiftly and moved us on into the dining room. For a basement room it's cleverly set to not feel too claustrophobic and sympathetically lit. Colours are kept light and it didn't occur to me once that there wasn't any natural daylight to be seen. 





With our amuse bouche's (One tomato tart and one I cannot for the life of me remember) came our drinks and the menu's, followed shortly by a selection of bread with incredible olive oil. 

Tartufo's menu is divided into three; Primo, Secondo and Terzo they do a set price of two courses £25, three £30 or four £40 and you can choose to have as many from any section, in what ever order you choose. 



We both decided on three courses, all being from the savoury menu. I started with Sgombro which was a mackerel salad with parsley cream. I thoroughly enjoyed this as for a starter it was light, zingy and not at all filling.



Mr D had the Pasta e Fagioli a warming white bean soup with pasta.



For our midi course I did as the Italians do and went for a pasta dish of open ravioli with truffle, leek and pea cream. It not only looked impressive, it tasted dreamy and such a bargain to have truffle within a £30 set menu. I could have had another of these and have left the restaurant happy.


The boy had his off the Terzo section and opted for partridge and mash with an Asian twist to it with star anise and pak choy.



My final dish was 'Triglia' a delicious red mullet with wild mushrooms, leeks and tomatoes in a rich fish jus. Being a bit of a mushroom freak this satisfied my craving to a tee. The jus tying in the dish perfectly- It was extremely hard not to swipe my fingers around the dish at the end to get every last drop. 




Mr D once again fed the meat lover within and went for 'Cervo'; venison and roasted pumpkin with celeriac, truffles, pears and cabbage. This was my favourite of his choices for the evening and the venison was a perfected pink.




Stuffed to the max we opted out of puddings, a good idea, as I was near to bursting and decided instead on a meander back down the King's Road towards home. But not before we had a nibble of the petit-fours that seemed to miraculously appear on the table...



You always know when you've enjoyed a meal when on your journey home you find yourself referencing back to the dinner you've just had and Tartufo was one of those. London was still tipping it down with rain however when you're evening's been so enjoyable it doesn't seem to matter... a perfect ending to a spontaneous and very reasonable fine dining experience.

Our dinner for two including aperitifs, wine and the set £30 menu's came in at around £100 which to me is fantastic value. 

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Monday

Sticks N Sushi - Denmark's secret hits London!


Sticks n Sushi has now confirmed it's top sushi spot after a second visit for lunch. The restaurant from the outside is super sleek - so much so you may miss it and the interior is stunning... I was sold on first glance...




That's before we've even started on the food. 

I have been lucky enough to bag a 'walk in' table twice now at Covent Garden however it is almost certainly best to not hedge your bets, and make a booking (or go early doors). Once seated you are presented with two food menus, one a la carte and another made up of set sushi menu's for one or more people. It's obvious that there's pride in what they do purely from the food photography... 



tummies rumbling yet?

I chose a set menu for one the 'mixed emotions' and souped it up with some salmon tartar - I was told I 'had to try it' by a friend of mine whom was already a fan. This came first and was totally gorgeous to look at, extremely fresh and absolutely delicious. The trout roe added a nice saltiness and the addition of chives, ginger and red onion gave the dish a welcome kick. 





The great thing about the service here is that the food isn't brought to you all at once. My sushi came first, as hoped, and I must say as a solo diner the mixed emotions is a fantastic way of trying as much of the menu as possible (and also getting rather full!). 

Four inside out rolls: 1 black alaska (salmon, cream cheese, avocado topped with tobiko), 1 x sparkling tuna (tuna, spicy sauce, leeks and cucumber topped with red tobiko), 1 x dreamy California (Miso aioli, surimi, avocado, cucumber, rolled in sesame, seaweed, poppy seeds, chilli and shiso)and finally 1 x Mamma Mia roll (avocado, cucumber, rolled in chives and wasabi) all of which were excellent. Particularly the sparkling tuna.





This also came with three types of nigiri (shrimp, tuna and salmon) again all very fresh and a perfectly sized for a mouthful. 

Finally two futomaki rolls called 'gypsy big' - seared fish, spicy sauce, avocado, cucumber, chilli, onion, ginger and unagi sauce. These rolls were my favourite out of the sushi dishes, mainly because they were a little bit different to your usual inside out rolls and nigiri. The flavours here were excellent. 



Onto the sticks...

Starting to feel a little full I decided to merely taste the potato salad which was lovely however I was here for the main event of which is the restaurants' name sake...

The asparagus with bacon was cooked with the perfect bite and a dish that I create at home with 'dippy eggs' - however with less finesse!  

Miso marinated pork was succulent and nicely charred.

Chicken tsukune which was minced chicken made into small meatballs and then covered in a devilishly sweet and sticky teriyaki sauce. 



Potato salad and edamame
My lunch including service came in at just under £30 so it's not a regular lunch spot. However, all ingredients are super fresh, beautifully plated and when cooked, done to absolute perfection - some of the best sushi I have eaten. You also have to take into account that this is a restaurant and not your average sushi haunt so don't expect average prices. It's so totally worth it I cannot wait to return - maybe this time for an evening shin-dig.

It's no wonder the Danes have kept it to themselves for so long!

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