Blog readers, friends, family, countrymen – forgive me, for it has been an AGE since my last post. Almost six months in fact, and the sad truth is that there isn’t really a concrete, or good enough, reason for my web silence. Just general busy-ness, but I appreciate that is a totally lame excuse, so here is hoping that this post heralds the first of many (or even several! Anything’s a start!) more.

The good news is that I kick off again on a fantastically upbeat note. after trying somewhere I’d been longing to go for ages: Flesh and Buns. Flesh and Buns comes from the same people that launched rock and roll ramen joint, Bone Daddies (I’ve not actually made it there yet, but I fully intend to. And I’ll be writing a post about it when I do!).

F&B describes itself as an Izakaya restaurant; this, it transpires, just means ‘a place where food and drink is served.’ But, oh my, what is served is heavenly. The speciality here is the stuffed hirata bun, which is actually a Taiwanese speciality, apparently. Who knew? I’d certainly never heard of such a thing, which is a total shame as these deserve to have been in my life a LOT sooner.

Hirata buns are soft, squishy, steamed affairs, served plain to your table, after which you have to stuff them with a filling of your choosing. Among the deliciously grilled options here are Sirloin Steak, Crispy Duck Leg, and Grilled Sea Bass. You also get a side dish of lettuce and cucumber to add to the whole affair.

Before Dan and I even ordered, however, our lovely, smiley waitress talked us through how it all worked. There is a selection of hot and cold starters available, and she recommended we share a couple of these, followed by one grilled dish between us, and a couple of the buns each. I had distinct reservations already; I’d already been drooling over the online menu at work, and it did not involve sharing just one main dish. But we decided to heed her advice, initially, figuring we could always order more…

Well, you can guess how that turned out. Firstly, though, the starters. We ordered Fried Squid with Japanese pepper and lime, which was possibly the best way I’ve eaten squid in years; I’m afraid it easily trumps Busaba’s Salt and Pepper Squid. This was delicately spiced, and the batter was so light and crispy that it was a revelation. We fell on it and it disappeared in a matter of moments, which was fine because then we got our grilled Chicken Yakitori with Schichimi pepper. I still don’t actually know (or really care) what Schichimi pepper is; all I know is that the chicken had an intense smoky, charcoal taste, and lasted about five seconds.

Then came the main event: we’d ordered Crispy Piglet Belly with Mustard miso and pickled apple. Our waitress pulled the pork apart for us, and then we stuffed it randomly into a bun, sprinkling over spoonfuls of the fiery, zingy miso and adding in the apple and lettuce.

There are almost no words to describe how it tasted. The sensation of biting down on that pillowy bun is one I shall remember for quite some time….it is now impossible to write about the rest of this without sounding a bit like a poor woman’s EL James, but here goes: the dough just yielded tenderly in the mouth, the intense hit of pork, miso and crunchy cucumber tenderly bathing my welcoming tastebuds (sorry). I mean, it was insane.

Dan and I just exchanged a look over the table (we were seated at the long communal one which runs down the middle of the restaurant; we’d booked for 7pm and I’m so glad we did as the place was heaving by the time we left). We did not even need words. We just knew what we had to do next. And that was to order the Flat Iron Steak with BBQ sauce and red onion pickle, with one more order of buns.

The chargrilled steak was rare, and simply melted in the mouth. It lasted a matter of minutes. We barely talked to each other; all we could do was make bizarre eye rolling gestures at each other (mm, attractive) while our faces were filled.

And because I’d heard so much about one of their signature desserts, the S’More, we had to give that a try, too. We were ceremoniously brought a large clay pot with a flame jumping out of it, over which we were instructed to toast a large marshmallow each, before sandwiching it between two biscuits which were layered with green tea paste and chocolate. It was FILTHY. Literally messy, and also just rude.

Satiated, we staggered away, pausing only to give each other a high five outside the door. It’s not particularly cheap, but it is quite unbelievably delicious, so I’d imagine I’ll be going there again soon. In fact maybe I can just repost this review any time I feel guilty about neglecting my blog…just a thought, I don’t mean it really. Or do I?