Glass visits Shackfuyu in Soho for modern Japanese dishes and cocktails


Shackfuyu, the modern Japanese restaurant from Bone Daddies, has gone from pop-up to permanent and we couldn’t be happier about it. When we visited, on Friday night, pairs were already eating at the bar – an instant confirmation of the menu’s allure. At the back, now, is a row of single-sided tables that you can sit at, next to your dining companion, cinema style, as your food arrives. The sharing plate concept of the restaurant lends itself well to this format. You get to watch as your dishes arrive – or as the plates ordered by other diners are placed in front of them, arousing envy.

Shackfuyu Gua BaoShackfuyu Gua Bao

We started with the scallop sashimi – four cream-coloured coins presented within their shell. Then came the iberico pluma in thick, caramelised slices that faded beguiling from rare pink to crisp, seared brown. The black-miso sauce that covered it was an example of what this restaurant does best – Japanese flavours contemporised.

ShackfuyuScallops at Shackfuyu

To follow, the jovially named tako tacos. These were a highlight – crisp exteriors juxtaposed the spiced guacamole and soft pieces of octopus within. And the gochujang, of course, added an unexpected element that worked so well. We also had salmon collar, from the specials, which came with an exceptionally well-matched ponzu sauce.

ShackfuyuMore shallops at Shackfuyu

Despite the theatre, despite the pleasingly experimental nature of each dish, the drinks menu is not overshadowed. Again, a little Tex-Mex flavour arrives in the frozen yuzu margarita, which I could easily have had more than one of. There are other cocktails too, and a sake list.

ShackfuyuBeef tartare at Shackfuyu

On this, the sake flight appealed to us – three to sample. Don’t visit without ordering this, it’s been cleverly thought out to offer a real example of how the tastes of sake can differ extremely. And the huge, ornately decorated bottles that they arrive in are a novelty to witness.

The single dessert on the menu – French toast with matcha soft serve

There’s one more thing that you can’t go to Shackfuyu without trying, and that’s their single dessert. French toast with matcha soft serve may not seem special, but it is. People come to the restaurant just for it. People blog about it and fill their Instagram feeds with it. It lives up to the hype – the toast is thick, hot and caramelised. The soft serve is filled with enough matcha flavour to have that almost bitter taste that comes with the most authentic varieties of the stuff. Go to Shackfuyu for the food, because it’s great, but come back for the dessert.

by Becky Zanker

Shackfuyu, 14a Old Compton Street, London W1D4TJ

Tel: 0207 734 7492