After hearing about the crazy queues outside the Soho branch of Bao I knew I wanted to try it for myself so I ventured down to Bao in Borough Market on a Saturday lunchtime to try it out.
Bao is a Taiwanese restaurant, serving Gua Bao, made popular in London due to the likes of Flesh and Buns and Yum Bun.
The restaurant itself is tiny, with only a few tables which were of course full so we took a spot at the bar, right opposite the open kitchen where we happily chatted to the chefs. Apparently there’s also a secret karaoke bar downstairs here so maybe I’ll go back for drinks another time.
Bao Borough – What We Ordered
The menu is simple and colourful, with lots of pictures. Each table has got a pot of pens and you mark on the menu what you’d like, and how many portions. The waitress explained that they recommend between two and three per person so we ordered a small selection.
We ordered the classic Bao (£5) which was definitely my favourite; the bao bun itself was soft and fluffy, packed with braised pork which melted in the mouth and topped with peanut powder. So delicious, I could’ve eaten more of these! The only disappointment is that they’re a little bit on the small side. We also ordered the Chicken Nugget Bao (£5.75), which looks a bit like a burger with a slightly speckled, blackened, greyish looking bun. I’m not sure if this is to resemble a sesame seed bun. The chicken was crispy and breaded, with hot sauce, mayo and lettuce but it definitely wasn’t as good as the classic, and I wasn’t really a fan of the Curry Cheese Bao (£5) which was vegetarian with fried cheese although this is normally my sort of thing.
Personally I really love duck buns (one of my favourites is at Ping Pong) so I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t on the menu.
We also ordered a portion of the Taiwanese fried chicken with hot sauce (£6.75) and this was amazing, although the sauce certainly was hot sauce! The chicken was crispy but soft, juicy and tender inside and drizzled with hot sauce on top. Presentation of all of the food was really simple, but effective.
Bao Borough – 3/5
The food was okay, and I like the concept but I’m not sure I’ll be back.
Food – 3/5
Service – 3/5
Decor / Ambience – 3/5
The total cost for two people was £25.31 including service.
Have you visited Bao before? Feeling Inspired? Check out my London Restaurant Hit List!
13 Stoney St