FOOD REVIEW: Bunnychow, Soho

Normally when seeing bread with a filling the word “healthy” doesn’t come to mind but this is all changed with Bunnychow’s “Better Breads” offering. Launched this month, right on schedule for the dry January detoxes the menu features gluten-free bread, charcoal brioche, protein wholemeal and matcha green tea white bread. The new ‘loafs’ teamed with Bunnychow’s deliciously wholesome fillings, are going to provide guilt-free lunch and dinner options to see you into the New Year.

To accompany the healthy ‘Better Breads’ Bunnychow have also introduced a new range of juices and cocktails. Made with exotic fruits, created fresh by the chefs on the day, the juices bring a burst of African sunshine to a winter’s day. Served on their own or shot of spirits as a fresh cocktail, the juices can also be served hot and transformed into a toddy to further fend off the chill.

With all of these healthy options to choose from we went for the charcoal brioche which is said to help the body absorb harmful toxins, cleanse the digestive system and boost the immune system. The filling in this was the “Veggie Bunny” (£5) vegetarian option and was totally delicious. The vegetables and quinoa made for a lovely and light lunch and complimented the bread perfectly. The second choice was the protein wholemeal bread filled with ingredients that lowers blood pressure and enhances brain function with the “Chakalaka Bunny” (£5) spicy chicken filling. This was similar to pulled chicken and was warming and filling which was perfect for the cold winters day.

We had the “Monkey Gland” (£2.50) chicken wings as a side which were spicy and a great accompaniment to the mains. Our juice of choice was the “Green Mamba” (£3 without booze, £5 for a single and £7 for a double) with cucumber, lime, mint and elderflower. This was so refreshing and cut through the spiciness of the sauce perfectly. The main event was the dessert for both of us, this was a smaller brioche bun filled with dark melted chocolate and topped with a fruity mixture. This was £3 and a total steal. I would highly recommend leaving room for this, even just to share between two!

The verdict is that this place is really great for a quick lunch, or breakfast, I am told. The food is clean and healthy and very reasonably priced. Highly recommended!

74 Wardour Street, W1F 0TE | bunnychow.com | twitter: @thebunnychow

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FOOD REVIEW: Chotto Matte, Soho

Chotto Matte is the kind of restaurant that’s busy no matter what the day and it’s easy to see why. The restaurant, based on the corner of Frith and Bateman St in the heart of Soho, is a fantastic example of Nikkei cuisine (that is, the blend of Japanese and Peruvian food which was developed over a century ago) done well thanks to the incredible Nikkei Boys duo, executive chef Jordan Sclare and Michael Paul in the kitchen.

It’s a slick place set over two floors – the ground floor plays host to their always thriving cocktail bar and a more casual dining area complete with a manga-style wall mural, whilst upstairs a polished restaurant. We went along one Friday lunch where it was already packed out with diners well into the weekend swing of things. We were treated to a round of cocktails to start our weekend proceedings – a deliciously fruity Flor de Manzana (mango vodka, sake, apple, lime, passion fruit and elderflower) and a satisfyingly good Lychee Pincante (Calle 23 Blanco tequila, lychee, lemon, chilli syrup and egg white).

We began with a bowl of Padron Peppers covered in an addictively more-ish miso sauce and the Seabass Ceviche (sea bass sashimi, sweet potato, Peruvian corn, coriander, chive oil, citrus sauce) which was nothing short of outstanding. The chef then brought out the deliciously fresh Nikkei Sepia – calamari to you and me – and the Tentáculos de pulpo – an unusual Peruvian dish with succulent octopus on a bed of purple potato. We also had helpings of the Ojo de Costilla (beef rib eye, lentil panca, chives) and Nikkei sashimi (sea bass, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno, coriander, yuzu truffle soy) both of which we’d highly recommend. We’d also urge you to go for the Bacalao negro aji miso – the black cod with yellow chili miso – ours was simply heavenly. Finally out came the Sake Dragon Roll made up of thick cuts of fresh salmon wrapped in rice and topped with perfectly ripened avocado – quite the meal in itself! We passed on desserts on this occasion – purely because we were close to bursting at the seams – and instead finished off our drinks for a sweet end to an epic lunch.

Chotto Matte had it all to offer: great food, a lively atmosphere and some delicious drinks. So the bottom line? If you’re looking for a good time in Soho, Chotto Matte should be your first and only point of call, it won’t let you down.

11 – 13 Frith Street, London, W1D 4RB | www.chotto-matte.com

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FOOD REVIEW: Shackfuyu, Soho

It opened in February last year as a pop-up and had all of London’s foodies raving. After an extensive refurb, it returned in December as a permanent fixture in Soho’s never ceasing to amaze dining scene. Shackfuyu is the latest creation from the team behind Bone Daddies in Soho and Flesh & Bones in Covent Garden – but you probably already know that. What you might not know is that Shackfuyu serves up ‘Yoshoku food’ – a Japanese take on Western cuisine – and it does it rather well. Of course, we already knew it was going to be good, but felt the need to investigate further just to make sure…

For a Sunday evening, the place was buzzing. There were enough bums on seats to keep the atmosphere lively and the Sunday blues at bay. We managed to secure the ideal spot at the back, absolute perfection for people watching (although we were rather taken by the seats at the marble counter bar). We kept things relatively tame on the drinks front (it’d been a long festive week) opting for a deliciously zesty Frozen Yuzu Maragarita (tequila, yuzu & lime juice, agave syrup and orange liqueur) and an Asahi Black before switching to the soft stuff for the rest of the meal. But if you go and decide you want to go all out – Shackfuyu’s got quite the banging drinks list.

Now to the food. Where to begin? It’s best you go hungry and with someone that likes to share (and if they like everything you do –  you’re onto a winner! If they don’t… whip them into shape!). The menu is full of small plates all designed to mix and match. The first of our glorious food parade to arrive was the devilishly good Korean fried wings – sticky, messy, spicy and oh so wonderful – they’re a no brainer in our opinion. Another no brainer if you catch it on the special menu: the individual hand dived roasted scallop. Beautifully done and served swimming in a chilli miso butter. Arriving next was the Wagyu beef tartar served with peppered prawn crackers, topped off with a yolk hat, just waiting to burst and pour itself over the beef. Next up were the satisfyingly more-ish Tako tacos (octopus, shiso avocado, gochujang), satisfyingly more-ish and from the selection of larger plates, the Grilled partridge with chilli ponzu. The final dish to arrive was the sukiyaki style wagyu picanha, served in a Korean hotpot that bubbled away in front of our eyes. Truly delicious and set us off into a truly stuffed slump.

Of course, when the only dessert on the menu was one of the most talked about of 2015, we weren’t going to refuse. The Kinako French toast with matcha ice cream had all of London hooked and it was easy to see (and taste) why. Whilst yes, it was a little bizarre to eat an indulgent breakfast dish for dessert it was surprisingly light and disappeared from the plate all too easily. Get it – even if you’re full. You’ll only regret it if you don’t.

14A Old Compton Street, London, W1D 4TJ | www.bonedaddies.com/shackfuyu

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FOOD NEWS: #ChristMASHbegins at MASH

This Sunday (15th November) at 6pm, Regent Street will be turning on their Christmas lights (yep, Christmas really is coming folks – brace yourselves!) and as a bit of a treat, the lovely guys at MASH want to give you a good ol’ dinner deal after you’ve enjoyed the festivities – all you need do is hashtag!

That’s right, you heard, a simple hashtag is all it’s going to take for you to get 50% off your steak! Simply tag them on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ChristMASHbegins, show your post when you arrive and they’ll take care of the rest.

The offer is available to both pre-booked and walk-in guests during dinner service on Sunday (excluding wagyu beef). So enjoy the lights and afterwards retreat to the luxurious comfort and warmth of MASH for a half-price steak and glass of red.

Perfect Sunday don’t you think? Make sure you don’t miss out – it would be a really huge mis-steak!

– Sorry.

77 Brewer Street, W1F 9ZN | www.mashsteak.co.uk | t: @mashsteaklondon | i: @mashsteak | 020 7734 2608

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COMING SOON: Kanada-Ya announces launch for second site

Japanese ramen restaurant Kanada-Ya is set to launch its second site on Monday, 30th November at 3 Panton Street in Soho. The opening will be preceded by a Soft Launch period from Thursday, 26th November till Sunday, 29th November which will offer diners 50% off the food bill if they sign up to the soft launch mailer on Kanada-Ya’s website (which you can do here).

The new site will offer the same selection of ramen alongside some new additions such as chicken karaage and korokke. There will also be an extended drinks menu with the introduction of bottled cocktails, Japanese craft beer, rare Japanese Whiskeys and a wider wine selection.

The restaurant – which will be open for lunch and dinner – will be sleeker in its interior design approach and will seat up to 56 covers over 2 floors (ground and basement) with two bookable tables for larger groups of 6. And for the very first time, you’ll be able to make bookings for these through a dedicated WhatsApp profile.

With the winter chill fast approaching, we can’t think of anything better than slurping some warming bowls of ramen, can you?

www.kanada-ya.com | 3 Panton Street, SW1Y 4DL | twitter: @KanadaYa_LDN | instagram: @Kanada_Ya_LDN

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FOOD NEWS: Build your own Sundae at Ma’ Plucker

The 11th November marks National Sundae Day (we know – is there anything that hasn’t been given a National Day?!) and to celebrate this all-American dessert, Soho’s Ma’ Plucker will be launching their build-your-own Sundae Bar.

Ruler of the roost Sexy Sylvia is inviting guests to create their perfect Sundaes on Sunday, err’ Sunday. Guests will be provided with Sundae glasses, vanilla ice cream, cream, and a selection of suitably sweet sundae toppings and delightful decorations, including; mini marshmallows, popcorn, jelly beans, Oreos and of course some sexy Sundae sauce to drizzle all over.

For those that create the most picture perfect of puddings and post proof on Instagram (@MaPlucker) with the hashtags #SylviasSundaeSunday there will even be the chance to win a mystery prize. And for those less of the creative persuasion fear not, there’s also going to be two of Sexy Sylvia’s signature Sundaes available to order from the main menu. These will include Ma’s ‘Sweet ‘n’ Salty Sundae’, and the ‘Cornflake and Caramel Sundae’.

Sundays just got saucy and we like it.

75 Beak Street, W1F 9SS | www.maplucker.com | Twitter : @maplucker

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FOOD REVIEW: Suvlaki, Soho

If you needed one more reason to visit Soho for dinner then Suvlaki is it. Recently opened at 21 Bateman Street, this Athenian Grill’s aim is to bring the best Greek souvlaki to the streets of London.

The first thing you’ll notice about the restaurant is its size: teeny in comparison to some of its neighbours but perfectly formed and strikingly designed. The team have managed to utilise the small space to its full potential and with that, have created something rather cosy and marvellous. It’s the type of place you’re going to knock knees or make a few friends on the table next to you so don’t be afraid – for one night only, you’re in Greece. Go with it!

The menu is split conveniently into Skewers, Wraps, Signature Dishes, Salads, Snacks and Sides, though that didn’t make our choosing any easier. When we finally came to order (with the help of a carafe of their Alpha Estate Malagouzia 2014 white wine) we were well and truly ravenous. Our starter of Pita Bread with Tzatziki came (thankfully) almost immediately, warm and ready to scoop up the dip. Next to arrive was the Baked Feta, the unanimous winner of the night (trust us – it’s not a maybe, it’s a must) – we loaded the warm, gooey feta onto the pita and rolled our eyes back with utter content. From the skewers list we ordered the Wild Boar Sausage, Pork with lemon glaze and Vegetarian – all delicious, but we have to hand it to the veggie option, it held its own quite nicely. Our final meat dish was the much recommended Lamb Shoulder Suvlaki from the signature dishes: 200g of tender lamb just ready to be pulled off the skewer. Teamed with a side of Greek salad, it topped off a sublime meal.

Whilst it’s likely you’ll be stuffed by the time the question of desserts crops up, don’t think about missing out on the Chocolate Biscuit Cake with homemade Greek coffee ice cream, this would definitely be a crime – seriously, we decided to share and instantly regretted our foolish decision. Pair with the Samos Nectar (2009) dessert wine and we guarantee you’ll leave with nothing but fond memories of Suvlaki.

21 Bateman Street, W1D 3AL | www.suvlaki.co.uk

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