It looks like Soho has got itself another new cracking restaurant and it comes in the form of Bao from brother/sister trio Erchen Chang, Shing Tat and Wai Ting Chung. Their Taiwanese buns (Bao is Taiwanese for bun) have been selling like hot cakes from their stall on Netil Market so as expected, their first restaurant is a bit of a hit.
At 12:09 during our lunchtime visit on only their third day of opening, the queue was humongous. We were eventually seated on a teeny stall facing a giant wooden wall with my coat dangling in my face; it was claustrophobic to say the least.
The menu was on a small piece of paper and you had to mark down what you wanted; it’s all so reasonably priced you could easily order everything. We tried all the baos. The panko crumbed daikon (£3.50) was probably my least favourite as I found it a touch boring. The classic (£3.75), which featured braised pork topped with peanut powder, and the confit pork (£4.50) were my favourites. Both offered pork with such intense flavour it was pure comfort food.
The lamb shoulder with garlic mayo (£5) was very British in flavour which made for a nice change; it had a touch of a 3am kebab about it. The fried chicken bao (£5) came in a sesame bun which gave it a strange-looking grey colour, but it tasted absolutely delicious; like a fancy Zinger burger.
The Taiwanese fried chicken (£5) could have done with far more of the hot sauce which had been squirted over it. We asked for some garlic mayo which was gladly provided but perhaps it should have come with some anyway. The crisp exterior combined with the soft fatty chicken was absolutely heavenly though.
Pig blood cake (£3.50) came with the ooziest yolk you’re likely to find (if you like oozy yolks, click here to see my Vine) which really added to the richness of it all. Talking of richness, the trotter nuggets (£4) were about as rich as it gets. Fatty trotter meat encased in crisp breadcrumbs; pure indulgent bliss.
My favourite dish was a simple plate of thinly sliced 40 day rump cap (£6) which was so dainty looking yet it packed an almighty meaty punch in terms of flavour. A must order.
Bao is a really exciting little spot. Fair do’s it’s not the sort of place you’ll spend a leisurely afternoon (unless you enjoy staring at a wooden wall) but with delicious food priced staggeringly generously, I left wanting to immediately return for dinner. I just hope the gigantic queues won’t be a permanent instalment.