Our appetite for brunch isn’t waning, so when we got wind that Soho pop-up turned permanent restaurant Shackfuyu was launching its own brunch menu, we couldn’t get there fast enough.
It may look small from the outside, but Shackfuyu is surprisingly large with rows of wooden tables and round, racing-green leather booths through the front and high, communal tables against whitewashed brick towards the back. For us, though, the best seats in the house are at the window overlooking bustling Old Compton Street, or at the back where you can sit side-by-side and watch stylish waiters flit about.
The brunch menu here encourages you to have three courses (more of this please) with each person ordering two small plates and one main each. Plenty of Shackfuyu favourites have made the cut onto the brunch menu, including sticky miso aubergine topped with bubu arare (a kind of small Japanese puffed rice ball) which provide welcome crunch against the yielding aubergine, and Korean fried chicken wings with a bright gochujang sauce that’s not for the faint hearted. There’s no way to eat these politely, but you won’t care. You’ll also find smoked bacon and savoury-sweet black sesame maple butter on fluffy green tea waffles (which makes them practically healthy), and a breakfast twist on its classic hot stone rice with bacon, mushroom, cheese and egg that’s cooked at the table in the residual heat of the stone bowl. We’ll be trying the katsu sando when we (inevitably) come back.
The small plates would have been enough by themselves, but it would be wrong to miss out on the USDA beef short rib with its charred crust and meltingly soft meat accompanied by pickled cucumber, carrot and lettuce leaves to bundle it all up in. This was to share, so we shot an envious glance at our neighbour’s chilled chilli ramen – Shackfuyu comes from the team behind Bone Daddies, so this is sure to be a winner.
There’s only one dessert option; a squidgy triangle of French toast made from roasted whole soy flour (kinako) with a caramelised crust reminiscent of crème brûlée that arrives with a swirl of its famous soft-serve matcha ice cream. This dish earned Instagram fame almost instantly when Shackfuyu opened and we can see why.
The menu here is incredibly good value at just £29pp for three courses and unlimited pineapple sake (there’s a £10 supplement for unlimited prosecco), that’s pushed through the restaurant on a service trolley. Granted, some of the dishes are more lunch than brunch, but when it tastes like this we’re not going to complain.
14A Old Compton Street, W1