One of my favourite things about blogging is that it opens up a world of new places you would probably have never hear of otherwise – particularly restaurants. I’m always keen to try new places and to me there’s nothing worse than the likes of Prezzo where I could make most of the dishes myself at home for a fraction of the price. So whenever I go to places like London where there’s an abundance of choice (unlike my small town of Bicester) I always make sure to plan where my friends and I will eat because I don’t want to end up at another chain. Of course there are exceptions as with anything. For example, I love places like Turtle Bay but if I’m paying to eat out I want to enjoy the experience as much as possible and to me this means trying new types of cuisine.
A couple weeks ago, my friend Nisha and I went on a bit of a beauty tour around London (blog post coming soon) and for dinner I suggested we visit Bao in Soho. I’d read about it through The Londoner, which is the first place I always visit for recommendations on where to eat in London. My first experience of Taiwanese street food, I was pretty excited to say the least! We arrived about 6pm and there was a small queue – on the opposite side of the street – where we had about a 15 minute wait which isn’t too bad at all for London. Plus it gave us time to peruse the short but varied menu before we were seated. Starting with rhubarb cocktails containing vodka and sake with a delicious salted plum for decoration. The cocktail was delicious but the salted plum itself blew us both away with it’s intense sweet but salty flavour. Seriously good.
We went for a few dishes each and a couple to share. Sorry the photos are a bit orange, the lighting wasn’t great inside and I wanted to share this with you anyway! We both had to try the classic bao with pork, coriander and powdered peanuts. I think this was my favourite despite the fact I don’t usually eat pork or like coriander! The combination of flavours was just amazing. The lamb bao was very good too and the buns were exceptionally light and fluffy – as much as buns can be anyway.
I also ordered the aubergine dip with wonton crisps which was very tasty and quite filling on its own. You should definitely go for the fried chicken in hot sauce without the bun. We both agreed the crispiness of the chicken was spot on. None of that KFC greasiness at all. Then we had some very moreish sweet potato fries to share too.
To wrap things up we shared the mini Horlicks ice cream bao because we wanted to see what it was like. I’ve actually never had Horlicks before believe it or not so I can’t really compare the taste too much but Nisha assured me it had the same malted taste. Anything similar to an ice cream cookie sandwich always goes down well with me anyway!
The whole meal came to about £35 each which was more than I had expected it to come to but cocktails always rack the price up! Each dish is very reasonably priced though and I could easily have had two or three and been satisfied, we just wanted to try as much as we could for our first visit. The service was very quick and we were served by very friendly waitresses so I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Bao to anyone looking for mouth-wateringly good food in the Soho area. I believe there’s another one in Fitzrovia too where you can book so if there’s more than two of you I would suggest doing that. For more information on Bao, visit the website here.
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