Never mind the bathroom porn, the ‘flesh’ at Flesh & Buns is pure meaty magic

Choosing a restaurant to go with my dad is always a nightmare. He automatically vetoes at least 80% of London restaurants in one fell swoop by refusing to eat anything processed or go anywhere pretentious, which is, apparently, any restaurant serving jus or employing ostentatiously French wait staff.

Fortunately, I found the perfect place in Flesh & Buns, Covent Garden. Well, perfectish. I wish the toilets hadn’t been plastered in dirty pictures – that’s not what you want, when you’re out with your dad – but the food was good! 

P1070004 (1280x960) Flesh and Buns Hentai toilets

(Jokes aside, some people on TripAdvisor really do have a massive issue with the Japanese Hentai decor in the lavs. If you’re a sensitive type or in denial about what your kids get up to on the internet, try Belgo next door for moules frites and an overall less PG experience.)

Back to F&B! We were sat in the middle of a long, wide communal table, which is quite, uh, cosy when the restaurant gets busy. In the picture below they’ve spaced everyone out, so you can imagine how cramped it is when every seat is occupied. While we were there two couples were sat on either side of us, and somehow all the men ended up on the same side chowing down pretty much cheek-to-cheek. Moral of the story: request a table or a booth when you make your reservation. Unless you’re both real skinny bastards, in which case, carry on.

Flesh and Buns Covent Garden

We started with some chip ‘n dip, Japanese style, which comprised a large box of rice-style poppadoms, guac and spicy salsa. At £6, I thought it was a leetle on the pricey side, but I suppose avocado is always expensive.

Flesh and Buns Covent Garden Chip and Dip

We also ordered the mixed seafood ceviche (£7), because I’m having a real thing for it at the moment and also because, despite being a big seafood fan, my dad had never tried it.

Flesh and Buns Covent Garden mixed seafood ceviche

Pretty!

It was delicious; zesty and fresh like ceviche should be (if you’ve never had it, it’s fish cured in lemon juice and finished with spices and coriander. Get it on your bucket list immediately. If you’re going all out and want to try lots of different kinds I recommend UNI or Pachamama.)

And then it was time for the main event. If you go on a Monday, as we did, there’s a deal for flesh, buns and a beer for £15, which is a bargain, especially for Covent Garden. (Daddy G actually had my beer, because bleurgh. I had a sparkling water like the badass I am.)

“So you basically have to build your own burger?” sniffed my dad, unimpressed, as a wicker box of F&B’s curiously smooth signature buns was brought to our table.
“Well, there’s bread involved, yeah, and meat,” I said. “But they’re not burgers.” And it’s true, the little pouches of soft white bun are a far cry from your standard bap, and the only beef on the menu is proper steak.

Which is what I ordered, obviously. Because look at it.

Flesh and Buns Covent Garden 200g sirloin steak

Flesh and Buns Covent Garden

You get two buns in the deal, normally £2 a pair, but we found we needed an extra one each to do the job properly.

It came with a sticky BBQ sauce and a sweet red onion pickle, which complemented the beef superbly.

My dad plumped for the crispy piglet belly, a thick wad of rich, fatty meat with a crisp shell of crackling. It came with mustard miso and pickled apple, which was an interesting spin on conventional porky platefellows.

Flesh and Buns Covent Garden pork belly

It was sublime, but we both agreed the steak was superior, especially taking the Monday deal into account.

Overall, our bill came to about £60 including two Beer & Buns deals, two starters, water and service. (Without the deal it would have been £75.) The vibe was good, although by 7:00pm it was quite loud and, as I say, a little squashed in places. Assembling your buns can also get quite messy, so I wouldn’t use this as an early phase date venue (fourth or fifth date in though? You’ll score points for originality.)

I visited Flesh & Buns on a Monday and booked via OpenTable. You can find the full menu online, and details of their AMAZING boozy brunch deal, which I am just dying to try. Mmmm. Maybe after I come back from holiday.

Flesh & Buns, 41 Earlham St, London WC2H 9LX.

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Author: Emily Gibson

Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in Islington and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.