Anyone who’s tried Bao’s soft buns at street-food markets will have been waiting impatiently to visit its new Taiwanese inspired restaurant in Soho, which opened earlier this year. The restaurant addition to the regular east London, Netil Market stall bar has been a great expansion – this is a must for all Londoners.
What to Try: Bao
The menu offers a choice of six steamed milk buns, or “bao“. We tried the confit pork bao with pork belly, pork sauce, hot sauce and dried shallots providing instant waves of savoury flavours and crunch. The lamb bao with lamb shoulder, garlic mayo and soy pickled chilli is a hit with the addition of that coriander sauce. There’s also the fried Horlicks ice cream bao for a sweet end to your meal. We were too full, but there’s always next time.
What to Share: Xiao Chi
There’s endless umami to be found with some of the Xiao Chi – small snacks commonly found as street food sold in markets in mainland China or Taipei in Taiwan. These are perfect for sharing, meaning (naturally for us) you can expand your tastebud horizons and try a few of the more exciting dishes.
While we didn’t go for the pig blood cake, or the Eryngii mushroom with century egg, the trotter nuggets are a must, along with the aged beef rump cap – slivers of beautiful pink beef dressed in aged white soy sauce. For chicken-lovers, the Taiwanese fried chicken with hot sauce, adds some crunch to the mix, and the guinea fowl chi shiang rice is perfectly presented. Not to mention delicious.
Bao doesn’t take bookings unfortunately, which means there may be a half hour, or a slightly longer wait. But it’s worth it.
Bao cost between £3.50-£5 for one. Xiao Chi are £3.50-£6 and perfect sharers.
Bao | 53 Lexington Street, London W1F 9AS | Mon – Sat 12-3, 5.30-10 |
Find Bao at Netil Market on Saturdays from 12pm-3pm |13 – 23 Westgate St, London E8 3RL