Bao isn’t something that I eat, or have eaten, a lot of, but I’ve always enjoyed them when I have. I’m also a big fan of Asian cuisine, so I’m surprised I don’t eat them more. Bao is a well-known London restaurant serving, you guessed it, bao. So, after it being on my list to try for quite a while, I finally made a visit over on my latest trip to London.
Bao doesn’t take reservations, so there is normally a lengthy queue, but I arrived quite early on a Friday evening and managed to snap up 3 seats at the bar. The restaurant is designed around a service area in the middle, which has bar seating on the edges and tables scattered around it. Rather than a menu, diners are presented with an order sheet that allows you to mark which items, and how many, you would like. I started the evening with a Hong Yu Gin & Tonic because I was intrigued; gin and tonic is my usual drink of choice, so I wanted to see what this version would be like. When it arrived, it was yellow/green in colour and tasted like a tea infused gin and tonic. It was very refreshing, and I enjoyed the new flavour, whilst still having my craving for a g&t satisfied.
We wasted no time putting our food order in and quickly started selecting a variety of dishes from the order sheet. We began with the aubergine & wonton crisp and Taiwanese fried chicken with hot sauce, as well as a couple of portions of sweet potato chips with plum pickle ketchup. The aubergine dip was a great nibble at the start of the meal because it was nice and light, but gave a taster of the fantastic meal to come. The chips and fried chicken were also delicious, but I didn’t want to fill up too much before all of the bao. I had a fried chicken bao, a confit pork one and a classic one. Everything comes as and when it’s ready, which is good for not having to wait too long before there’s more food in front of you.
The fried chicken bao was very similar to the fried chicken we’d already snacked on, but it was served in an incredible light and fluffy bun. The combination of crunchy chicken and the steamed bun worked extremely well and the whole experience of eating this was amazing, in both texture and flavour. My happiness levels with eating these tasty buns increased with every bite, but I think my favourite was the classic. The beef was so succulent, and the peanuts added to a delicious eat.
I was incredibly full by the end of our meal, but the beauty of this kind of dining is that you can continue to pick at food until you physically can’t eat any more (not that I recommend that of course!). If you like good, sharing food, you need to check out Bao.
Atmosphere – 5
Food – 5
Price – 4
Service – 4
Total – 18/20