Shack-Fuyu, why the hell are you so hyped?

I’m going to start by saying I am feeling a bit insecure and I don’t think I am a particularly good food blogger. I’ve written this whole review and I haven’t mentioned any information about the restaurant nor the decor or ambience, and I reckon it is probably important to do these things. I’ve resolved to do it next time. I can’t be bothered to add it now, or its just going to seem FORCED. Still need to start my BYOB club, so anyone that actually took the time to read this PLEASE JOIN IT and we can go to all the best BYOB restaurants it town and review the hell out of them. ANYWAY, onwards and upwards innit!

I am very much struggling to write this, I have come back to this draft many times, just to stare at it and then scroll Reddit. Then I saw this bizarre yet apt personalised advert on Reddit about a woman who used online therapy to overcome their lifelong procrastination (didn’t realise it was a recognised disorder), and it spurred me to come back to this to avoid the fate of whoever that poor woman was.

This restaurant review has felt a burden to me, recalling an experience I can only describe as fleeting, great, and also quite shite.

  • Food (5/10)
  • Value (5/10)
  • Atmosphere (6/10)
  • Company (100000000/10, Rebecca you are an amazing sister, you deserve an award for being a great restaurant partner even if you are a vegetarian and it severely limits what I can order but thanks for eating fish occasionally)

I enjoy London life, but I am extremely wary of the whole restaurant scene in these ends. I’m always suspicious, often disappointed. I was however SUPER IMPRESSED by Bone Daddies, so I thought Shack Fuyu would deliver. Japanese food is one of my favourites…ever. Promising.

I made the reservation a week in advance and when I arrived with my sister we were notified that we only had an hour and a half to eat. I mean, that kind of irritated me. I know I wouldn’t really be more than an hour and a half but it added somewhat a sense of urgency to a meal. Just make it two hours like all the other restaurants? That is the standard. Why rush me? If you made it two hours you wouldn’t even have to TELL me, I would’ve just assumed. And then by actually telling me as soon as I sat down that I only had an hour and a half, I felt UNWANTED. How hungry for money are you that you’re pushing people along on some sort of conveyer belt just to cram as many customers into your schedule as possible.

As instantly disgruntled as I was, the menu itself sounded delicious and I was genuinely excited to eat. We went for the pre theatre menu because it was the cheapest. I also added some extras to the set menu because I am greedy and basically never feel full unless I eat about three people’s worth of food. We settled on the Tuna Ceviche, Korean Fried Wings, Grilled Salmon Fillet and Beef Fillet Tail with a Yuzu Koshu mayo.

Tuna Ceviche with Shiso

The fried chicken wings came over literally two minutes after I ordered them, and before our wine even arrived. As much as I hate waiting too long for food, literally not waiting at all feels so wrong. I’m supposed to slightly anticipate what I am about to eat, at LEAST 8 minutes. Who were these wings originally for? Did someone cock up an order and then they just dumped them on me? We will never know. My sister just told me to start so I was awkwardly eating wings as she watched me. Wings are awful enough to eat neatly anyway, let alone being watched by a vegetarian whilst knawing wildly on animal bones. Her ceviche didn’t arrive for about 10 minutes after that.

I mean, I am the person to normally wait to eat food but i’m not a fan of a cold wing and honestly I was bloody starving. 10/10 on the wings, and they’re absolutely massive too. They really really know how to do wings. The ceviche (which I in turn watched my sister eat in some sort of bizarre metaphorical passing of the baton) was alright. I didn’t get much acidity at all, and the shiso was not really there in my mind. It just tasted like an alright ceviche, not exactly out of this world but a decent portion. A kind of lame tuna salad.

Beef with Rice

Onto the mains…ergh. I mean, once again my beef came out way before my sister’s main. It was kind of tough, the yuzu koshu hollandaise was dead. It needed salt or…something. I got NO yuzu there at all. I hadn’t read the menu and truly had no idea what the hollandaise was supposed to be. All my main came with were some spring onions and a massive plate of bland rice. I use salt to cook rice with, but apparently they don’t. No salt on the meat either. The smallest dollop of the shit hollandaise. I felt like I was irritating them asking for salt and more hollandaise . If I hadn’t, my whole meal was just lumps of unseasoned beef and a mountain of bland rice. My main also went cold waiting for the salt, as if they were really struggling to find some to give me. I felt like a bodybuilder shovelling down some meal prep beef and rice just to hit my macros. I sort of expected them to bring me a shot of pre workout and wish me a killer gym sesh. Not even a vegetable with the main, not anything. It is purely impossible to comment on a plate of unseasoned beef AND unseasoned rice. It was the worlds most underwhelming meal.

Salmon

My sister’s salmon came with no sauce at all. I mean..come on. The salmon was just….salmon. Whatever glaze they attempted to do didn’t have much flavour. It tasted like when my dad slathers sweet chilli sauce on a piece of salmon and puts it under the grill. No shade to my father, because its nice when he does it! But that is what it was. Notably less sauce than when my dad does it. Literally no sauce. There was a chargrilled half lemon, which is fine enough but meh. Chargrilling a lemon is just obnoxious to me. Once again, just some spring onions and few grated carrots. It was ridiculously underwhelming. Luckily I had also ordered the wildcard prawn toast masquerading as Okonomiyaki for a whopping £10,50. It was a tiny plate of toast, but it was delicious. I had to get it, as i’m a sucker for an obscure sounding menu item. It delivered, crispy crunchy toast with a fat wedge of prawn goodness topped in plum sauce and bonito flakes. It was certainly the most flavoursome of everything I had tasted so far, which wasn’t hard at all to achieve.

Prawn toast masquerading as Okonomiyaki

The star of the show was obviously their Kinaki French Toast. They’re famous for this and they know the people are hooked. It is the only dessert on the menu, respect. And damn, its bloody delicious. The matcha ice cream is one of the best icecreams I have ever had. So smooth with a strong but not overpowering matcha taste, and the roasted soybean flour (the kinako) makes an amazing garnish for the crispy yet soft and mouthwatering french toast. It was my ideal dessert, I’d order it a million times over. UNTIL. Until i saw the people next to us get the same dessert. Their dessert was legitimately DOUBLE the size of mine. I had a small piece of bread and some ice cream (which I had to share with my sister sadly), but the couple next to us got bread close to three times the size of mine, and more than double the amount of ice cream. I was outraged. How cheap is that? Just because you go for the set menu, you get a smaller dessert and this was not mentioned EVEN ONCE on the menu, if it was I’d be damn sure not to go for it. That is such a cop out man. Imagine enjoying an insanely good dessert, not wanting it to end, savouring each mouthful and then BAM, the table next to you receive two massive portions of the one thing you wish you had more of. Did they give me a small amount because they were trying to tell me something? Or were they so insistant on getting us out the door quick that they halved my dessert to speed up my eating time. Either way it left an unsavoury taste in my mouth that still irks me to this day, to the minute I am writing this.

Kinaki French Toast

Now, as much as I have slagged off Shak Fuyu, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t have a fantastic time. I always have a great time when I go to a restaurant. Spending a strict one hour thirty with my sister, a bottle of wine and food we didn’t have to cook will always be a top notch evening. I think the food would literally have to be inedible or the waiter would have to slap me in the face (perhaps that’s what happens when you don’t finish your dinner in time)for me not to blindly enjoy the time there. The food was just a backdrop for the time spent with my sister, so the evening was never wasted. And no, I didn’t spend the whole time slagging off the food (apart from when I saw the massive desserts we didn’t receive and I basically turned into Dudley Dursley)

To sum up my opinion on Shak Fuyu, I will tell you a small anecdote. A colleague asked for somewhere to eat in Soho and I said “Ah man, I just went to this place called Shak Fuyu, its really cool, look it up.” As he was checking the menu out on google, the cogs started whirring and I felt compelled to tell him not to go there. “Yeah actually don’t go there, it’s not great and to be honest the food is just so meh, sorry for even mentioning it, go somewhere else.” I literally forgot that it was kind of shitty, because its a COOL place to go, and there’s always queues and you can’t stay too long so it MUST be good. But that is not true. Shak Fuyu is place you think you want to go to, but actually, you don’t at all. Its an average bougie stupid London restaurant that is way too expensive and delivers alright food and makes me feel like a burden for even being there. “Oh you have a reservation?? Fine. But be quick. What do you want?? Salt?? For your meat??? Ugh, fine. Eat quick. You don’t get a big dessert because you’re eating too slow. Hurry up. Alright, Next.” Just a disclaimer I would (and will) go back for the Kinaki French Toast many many times.

Shak Fuyu 14A Old Compton St, London W1D 4TJ

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