It used to be enough to know the difference between sushi and sashimi and wasabi and yakitori – but not any more. As Japanese food gets hipper by the week in London, the menus have had to keep pace, introducing terminology that’s as obtuse as a zen koan.
Let’s take the menu at the delightful new Bone Daddies restaurant in Soho, called Shackfuyu. ‘Mentaiko mac n cheese with bacon – cock scratchingsTM’ reads the menu. We’ve already got cock scratchingsTM, but – mentaiko? A couple of weeks ago I had mentaiko (pictured above) at the equally delightful Jun-chan in Ebisu, Tokyo, a charming izakaya that also serves horsemeat sashimi and whale meat. The Japanese take cod roe and marinate it with chilli, to make a salty, appetising bar snack. At Shackfuyu the effect is diluted by the mac ‘n’ cheese, but pleasing nonetheless. Ice cream is made with kinako; roasted soy bean flour, used in Japanese confectionery. ‘Prawn toast masquerading as okonomiyaki’ was another winner of a dish at Shackfuyu, the garnish of bonito shavings waving in the heat of the dish.
The only mystery: why, in a Japanese restaurant, is the giant graffiti on the feature wall written in Chinese, not Japanese? In case you’re wondering, is translates roughly as: ‘To entertain the guests who come in the winter, I brave the heavy snow to collect the ice outside for water to make tea.’
Read our full Shackfuyu review now.
By Guy Dimond