Fukuro | Fun vibes and great bites at Soho's newest izakaya
“Welcome to Fukuro! Fukuro!”
As soon as we walked into the restaurant, everyone from the chefs to our host welcomed us with this greeting (in unison, almost like a chant). This is, of course, a twist on the traditional “Irashaimase!” greeting that customers get when they walk into a Japanese restaurant. While it did get a bit loud, the greeting was done in a fun manner and contributed to the convivial atmosphere of the restaurant. Located in a windowless basement in Soho, stepping into Fukuro, which means “owl” in Japanese, felt like stepping into another world.
Design-wise, the restaurant is stunning. It’s all concrete, warm wood, black leather, and perfectly placed lighting. If you’re dining as a party of two, you’ll likely be sat at the row of seats facing the kitchen. Otherwise, there are only large tables in this restaurant and they definitely have enough large groups to fill them.
Food-wise, Fukuro is easily one of my favourite openings of the year. Everything is tasty, beautifully presented, and (gasp) affordable! Surprising since some of my favourite Black Sheep spots make quite a dent. We ate to our hearts’ content, and somehow walked out with a bill that was less than $700 for two (no alcohol).
We started with the Beef Tartare ($138) which reminded us a bit of the Korean yukhoe. This dish was fresh, wet, and full of flavour. And came as quite a healthy portion for the price.
How could we resist ordering a dish called Crispy Caramel Butter Corn ($58)? We were served seven pieces, and needed to semi-delicately nibble the kernels off. But it was worth the effort. This dish is very buttery and indeed crispy, but it’s not overly sweet so fine to have as an appetizer. It’s quite indulgent though, so my girlfriend, in the spirit of wanting to prevent a breakout, said I could have one of her pieces if I wanted. Yes, please!
Our server recommended the Hamachi Collar ($138), which we loved. The tender fish was very moist and came with a textured, slightly sour Fuji apple ponzu sauce which helped cut through the fish’s oiliness.
From this section, we also couldn’t resist trying the Yaki Udon ($168) since it came with both snow crab and miso butter. Mmm noodles and butter. There was a very generous amount of crab in this dish, and the creamy sauce was moreish without being overwhelming. I found the noodles slightly softer than I usually prefer, but flavour-wise I’d definitely order this dish again.
I love monaka shells, anything with rice flour really, and couldn’t resist the Monaka Ice Cream Sandwich ($48). The ice cream flavour was seaweed, which was umami-ish and reminded me a little of soy sauce, and the jam was sakura. Not bad.
On the evening we went, they also had a special apple ponzu dessert which we had to try too. The variety of opposing textures and flavours were quite nice, and it reminded me of the desserts I’ve had at Cobo House.
Looking back, I guess our bill was quite reasonable because we didn’t order too, too many dishes. That was because the portions were really very generous, and the food was all quite heavy. I’ll definitely be back to Fukuro as soon as I can, since there are quite a few dishes that I still want to try including Pickled Mackerel, Fish Cake Tempura, the Black Cod, and the A4 Wagyu Sukiyaki. And note that this is a no reservations spot.
1-5 Elgin St SoHo, Central, 2333 8841