It’s All About Meiji | Shackfuyu, 14a Old Compton Street, London, W1D 4TJ
Shackfuyu – nope, I’m not swearing, naming a planet from the new Star Wars film, nor has a cat just walked across my keyboard. It’s the pop-up gone permanent by the fabulous Bone Daddies. They specialise in Yoshoku food, which is a Japanese take on Western cuisine that originated during the Meiji Restoration.
We missed it the first time around but kind of felt like we had been after being tormented with pictures plastered all over Instagram for quite some time. The numerous photos of their famous dessert is the main reason that I wanted to visit but I’ll get to that at the end.
Their forever home is on Old Compton Street, in what looks at first glance like a tiny little restaurant but once inside we realised how far back it stretches. It was a Tuesday night in peak Christmas party season and it was rammed and buzzing.
We sat for at least fifteen minutes at our table near the end of the restaurant feeling a little invisible before we were finally seen to. We were concerned things hasn’t got off to a good start because of the wait, had we not been reviewing, I think we would have just walked out.
The situation was saved by a great waitress who was obviously under pressure dealing with the large groups. Suddenly everything was fine, we were happy again – water was replenished regularly (poured from an old-fashioned stainless steel kettle, nice touch) and food arrived rapidly.
First things first – cocktails! A rather summery Peach and mint gimlet (£9) for me and a Smoke on the water (£10) for him, the drink that I had my eye on.
We kicked off with some fresh and tangy Tako tacos (£8) with octopus and avocado. Our first choice of Monkfish cheeks (£6.50) was all out so the waitress suggested the Aubergine 4 miso – bubu arare (£5.80) instead – so glad she did, as it turned out to be one of the best things we ate, so robust and punchy, whether you’re a veggie or not, order this.
Talking of vegetarians, I felt a bit bad eating the Curried rabbit donuts (£4.80). I’d literally been discussing the cruelty of certain marketing types traipsing around magazine offices with animals in tow, just to sell their latest product, a few days before on Facebook. I’d spotted a poor little white rabbit in a tiny box (I have no idea what it was being used to promote) outside my now ex-day job.
A vegetarian friend commented with ‘I bet you’ve eaten them though.’ I felt a little smug thinking, actually, I hadn’t eaten rabbit for years, until Shackfuyu that is. As I sunk my teeth into the rabbit donut, all I could think about was that poor little bundle of white fluff in the box. [But if it WAS that little bundle of white fluff in a box, it sure was tasty – Ade.]
Time for another cocktail to ease my guilt – the Gini Hendrix (£8.50) leapt out at me, it wasn’t as exciting as the name suggested though. Time for more food – Sticky fatty lamb ribs (£14.20) coated in a pickled plum miso glaze, Ade was in love with these and I was left with the USDA beef short rib – bo ssam style (£22).
All the dishes are meant for sharing but none more so than this one, load up a crisp lettuce leaf with juicy meat, pickles and sauce, customise your dinner! Loved it almost too much, I was aware I had to save space for that dessert – Kinako french toast with green tea soft serve ice cream (£6).
Oh. My. God. I definitely have more of savoury tooth than sweet (the opposite to Ade, it’s good to balance things out) but this was so incredibly good. I rapidly starting thinking tried of ways I could get more than my share. I must have hinted about how much I was enjoying it several times, as Ade slid a little more of his ‘half’ over to my side of the bowl. A friend wouldn’t do that.
14a Old Compton Street, London, W1D 4TJ
Telephone: 0207 734 7492
Opening hours: Mon – 12-3pm/5.30-10pm
Tues to Fri – 12-3pm/5.30-11pm
Sat – 12pm-11pm. Sun & Bank Holidays – 12pm-9pm
Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road or Leicester Square (5 mins walk)
We ate as guests of Shackfuyu, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.