Researching “must-eat” destinations is a favourite pastime of mine.
Being the type of person that plans their holiday around a restaurant I’ve heard of, or a local cuisine I’ve been aching to try means that I have quite the international checklist of eateries on my “Things to eat before I die”. Fortunately, Bao was one place I didn’t have to stray too far from home to find.
Bao is one of those notoriously good London restaurants, where you haven’t got a hope in hell of dining at unless you’re savvy enough to arrive just before they open and are still willing to queue around the block. Whilst I am always more than willing to sacrifice life and loss of limb to frostbite for a worthy morsel, I knew my co-diner, Jan (AKA mum) would not be willing to make the same abdication.
Thankfully, Bao Fitzrovia takes reservations.
Following Apple map’s haphazard directions down a dark, dimly lit street; my mum and I bustled along the leafy pavement until we were beckoned by a shining beacon of hope.
The windows as steamed as the cloud-like offerings they served inside, we took sanctuary in their basement dining area, sitting opposite the exciting, hungry energy of the systematic kitchen.
Hypnotised by the carefully orchestrated movements of each chef, we blinked from our trance for the seconds required to order one of nearly everything from the short but sweetly smokin’ menu.
Alongside Sweet Potato Sours (stay with me).
Gin, Chestnut, Sweet Potato, Lime
Better than it sounds, as good as it looks and deliciously lethal.
The food arrives thick and fast as soon as it’s ready.
House Salad (because health).
Beef Cheek and Tendon Nuggets.
Truly exceptional, don’t miss.
Taiwanese Fried Chicken, served with hot sauce and soy cured egg yolk.
Spicy, rich and as mouth-wateringly good as it is photogenic.
And the namesake, the Baos. Each one a pocket of soft, plump heaven packed with eye-rollingly good fillings…
A classic for a reason. Slow braised pork belly, coriander, powdered peanuts.
Heaven in a handful.
The Confit Pork Bao.
A sweet yet crisp filling, devilishy good. Order two.
The Cod Black (hoovered before pictured) the naughty yet elegantly refined cousin of the fish finger sandwich.
The Beef Shortrib.
Think of delicious and times it by 2.
Bao truly lived up to and exceeded expectations. Perfect for a quick bite or long lazy evenings, make sure you go and be prepared to stuff yourself silly. Prices are reasonable and if you’re short on time, you can even book at their Fitzrovia restaurant – how bao dat?