Didn't I say I'd be back for that wicked-looking French toast with matcha soft-serve? I'm nothing if not a woman of my word.
Let's set the scene a little bit. One warm spring night a few weeks ago, Alex and I headed to Soho to join forces with the Foodie Superheroes: Miho, Honey, Emma, V.A., Jesse, E and Thach. Our mission? To sample all that Shackfuyu had to offer. And I mean that literally - we ordered two or three of practically everything on the menu, as well as most of the cocktails!
First came a shoal of yellowtail sashimi nestled in avocado atop a tostada shell. These were light and refreshing, and I could easily have eaten five by myself.
The USDA beef picanha in kimchee tare butter was also pretty special, and beautifully cooked to a medium rare standard.
We also went for the mac and cheese with mentaiko. From the Shackfuyu menu I see that they've changed the garnish to cock scratchings, which sounds like a better pairing - mac and cheese is definitely far better suited to meat than fish roe! I'd had this before, and we also ordered a fair few dishes that I ate on my last visit: hot stone rice, the aubergine with bubu arare, the prawn toast masquerading as okonomiyaki. My opinion didn't change too much on these, so you can read what I thought the first time round here!
And the star of the dinner - Kinako French toast with green tea ice-cream (which looks oddly luminescent in this photo - I blame blogger DIY lightboxes with phone flash!)
Thanks to the premature summer heat, the soft-serve machine broke down halfway through our order. The waitresses were very apologetic, but we didn't mind too much - we shared the desserts that had arrived prior to the technical failure. Plus, it was so worth the wait: when the machine was up and running again, practically everyone got their own tub of matcha on the house! Cue a very smug response from the gentlemen of the group (see below).
I can see why this dessert is so hyped on Instagram: the matcha ice cream is excellent. Puddings with matcha flavouring often tip over into bitter territory, but this had just the right level of astringency, creaminess and chill to offset the warm, caramelised French toast.
Poor Alex got a bit intimidated by the hosts of cameras and phones whipped out every time the waitress deposited a new dish at our table. As for me...I knew I had found my people at last.
After pudding we headed next door to Soho institution LAB for a few drinks. LAB has been a stalwart fixture of my teenage years and early twenties - it was the first cocktail bar I went to aged 18, the site of my 20th birthday drinks, and my first London date with Alex. So it felt right that it should be the scene of my first night out with the foodie crew!
There was also a first happening at LAB - Miho's first ever Jagerbomb. I felt like a seasoned pro explaining to the JB virgins among us about how to drink one (Freshers' Week taught me well).
Yup - there's that classic Jagerbomb response!
After a spicy Mexican Butterfly, Alex and I had to bid our fellow foodies farewell. As we rushed down Shaftesbury Avenue to catch the last train south, there was but one thing floating through my mind: that delicious soft-serve dessert. Seriously a matcha made in heaven.