London truly is an awesome capital, there really is something for everyone!
Even for a nerd like me who loves all things Japanese, there are hangouts made with us in mind… almost brings a tear to your eye!
And now I’ve found a new hangout! Hard to find, but even harder to forget, let’s talk about Beer & Buns!
Located in the city, and a five minute walk through the enterprising back streets from either Moorgate or Liverpool Street Station. You’re looking for the K10 building on Appold Street.
Once inside, walk up some flights of jet black stairs while admiring the hand-drawn wall art, before entering (in my opinion) the coolest Japanese pub in London! And I shall tell you why:
- This place rocks out some banging tunes,
- While playing some random Japanese movies on a big projector,
- Free pinball machines!
- Foosball (not free but still great),
- Badass beer taps (pouring the UK’s largest range of Japanese craft beer!)
- Tables covered in anime!
It doesn’t get much better than that!
Actually it does, because I haven’t even talked about how awesome the Beer & Buns (see what I did there) are. So I shall do that now!
Placing our order with the very open bar staff and receiving a trusty buzzer to tell us the food is ready, we started small before taking on the main event. So the meal began with some crispy and saucy jumbo wings, one covered in Korean hot sauce while the other donned tebasake soy garlic. The crispy triple fried skin worked wonders in the bite, but the chicken itself and the sauces were simply… ‘OK’.
Next were the fries, and I ordered the new Japanese Poutine while my bud ordered cheesy Korean fries. Can you guess which one was the phenomenal choice? It was actually the Korean fries! The Japanese Poutine was a great attempt, topping the Canadian classic with Japanese curry instead of standard gravy, but the umami kick I love in a good sauce just wasn’t happening. What the Korean fries had was a real fiery sweetness in its sauce, add the melted cheese and chips, and you get a ridiculously addictive snack! I literally demolished them, and I didn’t even order them!
Then finally we get to the buns, which I must say are the most perfectly steamed hirata buns I’ve ever had – big shout. Going from worst to best, I’ll start with their newest additions being the tonkatsu and fish finger. I respect restaurants who want to try new things, but the tonkatsu (to put simply) tasted like nothing, it definitely needed sauce. Any sauce. The fish finger bun, however, definitely had promise with its tartare sauce working gorgeously with the succulent fish in crispy batter. Then there’s the soft shell crab, a triumph due to the fresh and tender crab being buried in a more-than-generous coating of deep fried batter raising the level of munch to ‘o-m-g’.
But the two best buns of the bunch have to be the chashu pork belly and B&B signature. These buns were so good, I had them thrice! On different days of course, what do you take me for! The chashu was medium rare meat at its finest – thick, chewy and full of pork flavour, topped with red cabbage and mustard mayo making an epic mouthful. The same can be said for the B&B signature, because it’s their signature (duh), exceptionally flavoursome slaw relish on top of some flawless deep fried karaage, again making a godly mouthful.
This was all washed down with some good old Japanese beer (chucked in for an extra £1 or so when bought with 2 buns). Their standard Oni beer is good stuff, smooth, golden and not too bloating. But we were most impressed with the Coedo ‘Shikkoku’ lager, a dark, rich and rather sweet liquid increasing my liking for beer per sip. Usually I go for cider, but this is beer and buns people! Though their additional selection of cocktails, sake and whisky is very impressive and very Japanese.
All I can say is, compliments to the chef and thank you to the geniuses who gave London this great establishment. The food is great, the drinks are enticing and the atmosphere, deviant and chill. It speaks to me on many levels, so I now consider it my city hangout, as should everyone else, whether you love Japanese culture or not!