The Asian food craze seems to be going from strength to strength, with countless bao outlets, pop-ups, ramen joints, dumpling shacks, Korean BBQ’s, Asian inspired street food stalls and much more popping up all over the place. It’s really on the curve at the moment and it’s working, so why not?! Shackfuyu translated from Japanese to English is ‘Winter shack’ and was originally intended to be a pop-up lasting from February 15 – February 16 and serves up experimental Japanese cuisine (purists look away now) in theme with Bone Daddies blaring out rock music and the largely share the same branding. The menu devised by Australian Owner Ross Shonhan (Zuma Alumina) he also owns Bone Daddies Flesh & Buns is inspired by “yoshoku” cooking, also known as the Japanese interpretation of Western cuisine – his version is peppered with Korean, Spanish and Chinese ingredients/influences.
The menu format features the ‘specials’ which frequently changes as does the main.
Korean fried wings (£5.9) – hot, sweet, sticky and laced with gochujang. They are fine little things.
Taco takos – octopus – shiso avocado – gochujang (£8 for 2). Creamy avocado lifted by that minty shiso and comes with cubes of gochujang pimped octopus. A delicious East meets West mash-up.
Sticky fatty lamb ribs – pickled plum miso glaze (£14.20). The proof is in the name, each mouthful was an umami bomb. They are a must.
Imo fries – shiso mayo (£4.50). Fried Sweet potato, intense in flavour and paired with that mayo made for a perfect duo. I found the mayo akin to tahini sauce which is a good thing.
Hot stone rice – sesame – chilli – beef. (£8.30). You can see where the Korean influence in this one a la bibimbap. It’s mixed right in front of your eyes with a raw egg yolk on top – it hisses and pops in that super hot clay pot. The rice forms into a crust of flavour in all the heat with mushrooms, carrots, nori and spring onions. Heaven!
USDA beef short rib – bo ssam style (£22). Here the Korean influences come in play and there’s a lot of work required to get to this tender stage of the meat – typically involving curing and roasting until the meat falls off the bone. Get a a hunk of it wrap it in lettuce and drizzle with gochujang & yakiniku (Japanese BBQ sauce) with a bit of ginger, then gobble. This is really good and deservedly popular.
Kinako French Toast (£6). Mr Whippy style match ice cream, toast hot, chewy, crispy from the pan and comes with an incredibly moreish sticky centre topped with roasted soy bean dust. It’s a textual journey and hands down this is one of the best deserts I’ve ever eaten, ever. I now believe the hype.
ROUND 2, 2ND VISIT:
I was that impressed on my first visit I decided to indulge a bit more at Shackfuyu, it was a Friday evening and I made it a mission to consume as much as possible since I was craving comfort food.
Niigata unfiltered pale ale (£4.80). A Belgian style wheat beer that was citrusy, sweet like honey and a decent drop all in all.
Bone Daddies Cider (£5) I wasn’t a fan of though – it was way too sweet for me and I could only handle 3 swigs.
Korean fried wings (£5.9) – Just as hot, sweet, sticky like the first time – the gochujang is addictive.
Tenderstem Broccoli – wafu dressing (£4.20). Beautifully cooked retaining the crunch and pimped by that Japanese soy vinaigrette. Never forget to eat your greens kids.
Aubergine – 4 miso – babu arare (£5.8). Sticky, salty, aromatic and fruity is how I would describe these delectable pieces of earthy aubergine. The crunchy little balls of babu arare gave it that all important textural element. They we’re in the top 3 things to eat of the evening.
Prawn toast masquerading at okonomiyaki (£6.30). Okonomiyaki is a savoury Japanese pancake filled with a variety of things including octopus and is usually drizzled with Japanese style mayo – in essence comfort food personified. These little mouthfuls were just that topped with katsuobushi flakes so thin that dance around on your plate caused by the heat.
Grilled padron peppers – yuzu oil (£5). Yuzu is Japanese citrus super food – kinda like a lemon on steroids. The peppers were tasty little things but the recipe just wasn’t as compelling as the Spanish way.
Sukiyaki style wagyu picanha (£18). This featured as the other top 3 things to eat of the evening – it came out bubbling away from the piping hot stone bowl cooking the raw beef before our eyes in all that sweet umami sauce and crunchy enoki mushrooms. Dips those slices of beef heaven in the bowl of egg yolk.
Hot stone rice – sesame – chilli – beef. (£8.30). It hisses, crackles and was just as good as the first time. There’s so much flavour in that bowl!
Iberico pork plum – spring onion & pepper misc (£12). The Iberico was as tender as you could ever want and the sauce had a nice tang to it lifting the richness. Not the best thing we ate but it was ok.
Lamb neck fillet – kimchee tare (£14.50). The pickled onions and daikon were a winner but sadly the neck was a challenge to eat as it would tough and going in for seconds gave us jaw ache.
Sticky fatty lamb ribs – pickled plum miso glaze (£14.20). They are a must and I particularly endorse these ribbed flavour bombs
Kinako French Toast (£6). Moist, moreish, masterful and they feature in the top 3 things of the evening to put in your mouth! It always ends well with this French toast and Mr Whippy style soft serve – it deserves a place in my pudding pilgrimage.
When did I go? Feb 2016 on both occasions.
The damage: Expect to pay £30-£45 per head for a load of food and a beer.
The good: Shackfuyu is a clever mash-up of East meets West, with an array of small comfort plates, there’s enough to please most. The setting is laid back (hipster friendly), there’s a lively bar, happy staff and that kinako ‘french toast’ is a textual/taste journey. I can imagine it would feature in many death-row meals! I can’t help thinking but eating here reminds me of Momofuku Ssam Bar in New York which is David Chang’s East meets West mash-up, of which I have many fond memories of. The pricing is also soft, the location is great and I can’t wait to eat here again. The MUST haves are the aubergines, wagyu beef piranha, hot stone rice, beef short rib, lamb ribs, French toast and Imo fries.
The bad: If you don’t like rock music or you’re a purist you might want check out another venue! Oh and avoid the lamb neck fillet.
14A Old Compton St, London W1D 4TJ
020 7734 7492