I’m not sure Yum Bun qualifies as a restaurant; it’s more like a counter with five seats. But it serves food, which is the most important thing. As the name suggests,they serve one thing and one thing only – steamed buns. I was seduced by the menu and the simple concept so, when I was at a exhibition opening last night, I made Friend In Kitten Heels walk twenty minutes across town to get Yum Bun. I think the satisfied tummy made up for the hurt feet…I hope.
The exclusive menu was even more exclusive when we went; it’s only open for dinner three nights per week and the menu was halved from six savoury buns to just three. The bento box, containing two buns, soup, salad and vegetable gyoza, was also unavailable and I was told it’s only available in the evening if they have enough left over from lunch. So I went for one chicken bun – Japanese fried chicken, tartare mayo, chili dressing and lettuce – and one pork belly bun, with hoi sin sauce, spring onions and cucumber.
The pork was deliciously tender and melted in my mouth, with just enough hoi sin sauce to add some spice and zing. The chicken was hot, flavourful and blended perfectly with the tartare mayo, a sauce too often restricted to fish. Two buns set me back £6 and filled me up nicely, an absolute bargain in anyone’s book. The bento box is an absolute steal at £7.50 which I will definitely be returning to try. I was told that the ox cheek was being braised as I ordered, beginning a long 48-hour cook that culminates in being wrapped in a bun with peanuts, coriander, cucumber and pickled greens. The pollock and salmon buns sound so good I will have to return with a friend and go halves on several buns, finishing up with the ice cream bun – strawberry sorbet in a coconut meringue cocoon.
The two staff were both adorable and very friendly, even bringing us the buns whilst we had a drink in the bar next door. The shop is inconspicious, tucked away behind blaring lights and noises of Featherstone Street, making it all the more endearing. Catch them in the shop or on the road at Kerb and other gatherings of delicious food. As previously stated, I have made this my summer of food-in-buns, however this little obsessions may continue long after the summer heat dies away.
Yum Bun, 31 Featherstone Street, EC1Y
A bit on the side…The bar we drank at next door, Rotary Bar and Diner, was lovely and had a great feel about it. Friend ordered a Bramble, which was apparently delicious and refreshing, whilst I went for a Camden lager, thinking I was doing London proud by going local-ish. Light and crisp, a delicious accompaniment to my dinner and counterbalance to the heat outside.