Shackfuyu – Review (Soho) Pop-up turns permanent

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 means ‘Winter shack’ and was originally intended to be a pop-up lasting from February 15 – February 16. It serves-up experimental Japanese cuisine (purists look away now) in the theme as Bone Daddies blaring out rock music and the largely share the same branding. The menu, created by Australian Owner Ross Shonhan, (Zuma Alumina, he also owns Bone Daddies Flesh & Buns) is inspired by “yoshoku” cooking. This is known as the Japanese interpretation of Western cuisine – his version is peppered with Korean, Spanish and Chinese ingredients-stroke-influences.

The menu format features the ‘specials’ which frequently changes as do the main dishes.

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Korean fried wings (£5.9) – hot, sweet, sticky and laced with gochujang. They are fine little things that should be applauded.

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Taco takos – octopus – shiso avocado – gochujang (£8 for 2). Creamy avocado is lifted by minty shiso and comes with cubes of octopus laced with gochujang. A delicious East meets West mash-up.

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Sticky fatty lamb ribs – pickled plum miso glaze (£14.20). Each mouthful was an umami bomb. They are a must.

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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.

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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 a scorching-hot stone bowl. The rice forms into a crust against the heat of the bowl and is accessorised with mushrooms, carrots, nori and spring onions. Heaven!

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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.

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Kinako French Toast (£6). What you get is a Mr Whippy style matcha ice cream, expertly swirled from a nozzle from dedicated machine. Right beside that you get a thick slice of chewy, crispy toast with a soft centre. It’s then dusted roasted soy bean dust. It’s has a righteous combination of textures and is quite possibly one of the most fun deserts I’ve eaten. DSC05904

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ROUND 2, 2ND VISIT:

I was that impressed from 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.

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Niigata unfiltered pale ale (£4.80). A Belgian style wheat beer that was citrusy, had sweet like honey notes.

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Bone Daddies Cider (£5) I wasn’t a fan of this, it was overtly sweet – 3 swigs was all I could muster-up. It’s making my teeth hurt just thinking about it.

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Korean fried wings (£5.9) – Just as hot, sweet, sticky like the first time – the gochujang is addictive and is a hoot to eat.

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Tender-stem Broccoli – wafu dressing (£4.20). Beautifully cooked retaining the crunch and pimped by that Japanese soy vinaigrette. Never forget to eat your greens kids for health reasons.

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Aubergine – 4 miso – babu arare (£5.8). Sticky, salty, aromatic and fruity is how I would describe these delectable pieces of gooey aubergine. The crunchy little balls of babu arare gave it that all important textural fun. They we’re in the top 3 things to eat of the evening.

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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 – this is comfort food personified. It was topped with wafer-thin katsuobushi flakes that do the Mexican wave right in front of you. (The heat of the dish does this).

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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. They needed more cooking time.

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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. We got a whack of umami from the sauce and enoki mushrooms gave a nice crunch. A raw egg yolk for dunking was also provided.

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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!

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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.

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Lamb neck fillet – kimchee tare (£14.50). The pickled onions and daikon were a winner but the neck less so. It’s unyielding texture was meant for a human with bionic jaws.

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Sticky fatty lamb ribs – pickled plum miso glaze (£14.20). They are a must and I particularly endorse these as they’re ripped with layers of flavour.

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Kinako French Toast (£6). Moist, moreish, masterful is what it is. It always ends well with this French toast and Mr Whippy style soft serve – it deserves a place in my pudding pilgrimage.

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The verdict:

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 that 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. 

Rating: 4/5

http://www.bonedaddies.com/shackfuyu/

14A Old Compton St, London W1D 4TJ

020 7734 7492

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