32 Berners St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3LR www.fleshandbuns.com
Following the success of the Sunday Brunch menu at its sister restaurant in Covent Garden, the newly opened Flesh and Buns Fitzrovia has just launched a Saturday and Sunday Bottomless Brunch.
The Fitzrovia branch of Flesh and Buns has the same Japanese izakaya theme as the original, with a Nikkei-Peruvian twist on the menu. The restaurant has a large and impressive bar, a spacious dining room, and a feel that is much more relaxed yet refined that its dark and grungy Covent Garden counterpart.
The set brunch menu includes snacks for the table to share, followed by your choice of’flesh’ served with their signature buns and accompanying salads. You can also choose from three optional side dishes, at a supplementary cost Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but make sure you save room for the desserts, which are included in the set menu.
Now for the booze. Unlike most bottomless brunches, there is not a Bloody Mary in sight. Instead, as well as the customary unlimited Prosecco, you can sip away at endless glasses of red or white wine with your meal. I’m not complaining.
Shortly after our first round of bubbly, the sharing snacks are brought to the table. The generous portion of curried nori popcorn is coated in a savoury and lightly spiced seasoning, and whilst nothing to rave about, it went down well enough.
Along with this comes two piles of simple yet flavourful edamame, one simply salted and one with a chilli miso glaze, so there is graze away on until the mains arrive.
For the eponymous’flesh and buns’ course we choose the smoked meat plate for two – part of the new section of the menu showcasing house smoked meats from the restaurants new wood smoker Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and the miso aubergine for a veggie option.
The selection of smoked meats is a truly impressive sight. The smoked brisket, beef tongue and pork cheek are served on a raised hot stone platter with a selection of sauces, salads and pickles, ready to cram into the soft and pillowy bao buns.
The meats are treated with care and have just the right amount of fat that makes them really melt in the mouth. The accompanying sweet chipotle miso BBQ sauce is a real winner, providing the perfect balance to the smoky meat and fiery chilli.
Vegetarians needn’t be put off by the meat heavy focus of the menu – the unbelievably tender aubergine was one of our favourite dishes of the day. Lightly coated in a crisp batter and topped with a sticky and sweet miso glaze, it’s gutsy, hearty and anything but boring.
The main courses all come in a’build your own bun’ style, so be prepared to get stuck in and a bit messy. It’s worth noting that all the components were perfectly sized and portioned to fit into the buns, making the self-service process really easy.
We also ordered a side of the veggie hot stone rice, clearly having underestimated the vast quantity of food we were to be served. This side dish may have been an unnecessary addition to the spread, but it was definitely worth it.
Similar to a Korean bibimbap, the rice is combined with mushrooms, charred corn, pickled carrots and sesame butter, topped with an egg yolk.
It’s served in a hot stone bowl that allows everything to keep cooking at the table, allowing all the flavours to melt together and giving the rice at the bottom a lovely crunch.
Just when we think we can’t eat any more, desserts are served! The Nutella croissant tai yaki are reminiscent of a classic American pop tart, but encased in buttery flaky pastry and served with soft serve ice cream flavoured with Milo, a malted chocolate drink from our friends down under.
The second dessert is a rich and sticky ginger pudding, topped with crispy rice and hochija tea ice cream. The ice cream has an unusual flavour that we don’t know if we like, but simultaneously can’t stop eating.
A final fun addition not to be missed is the’Press for Pisco’ button on the table, which summons a bartender equipped with a drinks trolley ready to shake up cocktails table side.
The bottomless brunch spread at Flesh and Buns may differ from your typical brunch menu, but it’s available all day until 6pm, so call it a boozy bottomless lunch if you like – and just sacrifice the alliteration.
Unlike many’bottomless’ restaurant experiences, the booze flows freely the whole time, with the attentive waiting staff barely letting a glass empty before topping it right up.
Flesh and Buns say that they’want people to leave our izakaya drunk, full and happy’ – and that we certainly did.