Flesh & Buns : Over-hyped Japanese food in Covent Garden

When some of my friends suggested catching up over dinner – I instantly threw out the suggestion of Flesh & Buns which I’ve wanted to try out for ages. It sounded fun and I love Japanese food – what’s not to like?

Well, at first, Flesh & Buns seemed to have all the right stuff - a menu full of crowd pleasing dishes and quirky cool elements like bathrooms plastered with manga comics (with some overtly sexualized male fantasy images that I wasn't really a fan of). Yet, to be honest, it just wasn’t that memorable. It’s sort of like they took all the popular dishes out there – trendy street food like meat and steamed buns, signature dishes from restaurants like Roka and then tried to recreate them in the most efficient factory-style output way.

To start with we had ‘Chips and Dips’ of rice crackers, avocado shiso, tomato jalapeno which was essentially guacamole and salsa. These were moreish and hard not to like (and have been made popular by the onset of Peruvian restaurants like Ceviche and Coya).

The Tuna Tataki was dull despite the bright green jalapeno ponzu sauce concoction drizzled on top. I think tuna would have been better if it was served lightly seared and ruby red in the middle instead of pink. The Chicken Yakitori skewers were tasty but small portion-wise.

For the mains, we ordered the famous Pork Belly and Flat Iron steak which were pleasing enough. I preferred the pork belly to the steak. What's annoying is that the meat doesn't come with the buns but you have to order them separately and again portion-wise not enough so the cost adds up. I ended up just skipping the buns and having mine wrapped in lettuce. Again – these sort of missed the wow factor that I had with the food in Koba with a similar style of barbecued meat in lettuce wraps. Another odd note was that everyone at my table felt horribly thirsty at the end of the meal. Given the fact that we had no alcohol – it makes me wonder at how salty the food was.

Dessert was Kinako donuts which were rather nice with a filling of black sugar custard.

In the end, it was perfectly adequate meal that without drinks was about £33. I guess if you’re in Covent Garden looking for a place to eat, this would be a decent choice. Yet it’s definitely not a destination type restaurant or somewhere that worth a half hour wait to queue. 

Unfortunately, Flesh & Buns was a bit over-hyped for me and I'm not terribly keen on returning.

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