Bao London Review

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

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The embodiment of a classic Soho fad-eatery, with its cramped quarters, no reservation policy and a line that would curve around the block if it were a corner store, Bao doesn’t do many things, but what it does, it does it well!

Open for less than a month, it’s made appearances on Instagram over and over again (the best way to make it on a culinary wish-list these days) with rave reviews of its fluffy buns, so we paid a visit to see what all the hype was about!

Arriving at 5.26pm on a Monday evening for its 5.30pm opening, we were first in line (Woohoo!) and the time the doors actually opened 5 minutes past advertised, the queue was about 6 parties strong. We were ushered in first, the door closing behind us and were shown to our seats, with the menu explained (Drinks on this sheet, food on that) and were swiftly greeted by a chirpy server who wanted to know if we’d like anything to drink.

Oooo, good service. 

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Over the course of the meal, which lasted say, 45 minutes maybe, we could see the crowd gathering outside, and had the meal not been satisfying, the experience itself of being in someplace so coveted maaaay have just given me the slightest hint on schadenfruede’s comforting warmth. I mean, if there’s a line, there has to be something to love, right?

Well, was there?

Let me just say from the get go that if you’re looking to tuck into a burger-sized bao, you’re going to be disappointed. The servings are dim-sum sized but with everything from the glasses to the cutlery being so much smaller than average, in proportion, the dishes may seem deceivingly large in photos so it’s best to manage your expectations from here! It’s a plus point for those who want a varied mix, but big eaters may want to bear that in mind.

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A glass of their peanut milk in comparison to my fist. 

Size aside, on to the food!

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These were the pork trotters, and to me, were the star of the night! The green sauce on the right was some amazing garlicky dip (He says it’s ginger-y), that was light but delicious and coupled with the batter and delicious fatty pork, was an amazing beginning to the meal!

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When we spoke to the staff, we found out that hours of work went into preparation, with the pork being marinated in wine beforehand, cooked separately, then put together in a deep fried nugget of flavour, gooey-ness, and sheer delish!

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When I took a bite into the pork confit bao, the first thing I noticed was how soft and fluffy the bao was. It was light and wasn’t soggy, which is definitely a plus point! Flavour wise, it was a 7/10 with a distinct taste of something missing, but I don’t know what!

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Their lamb bao was a 8.5/10 for me, and lamb cutlet lovers are gonna love this! Burgers should come in this form rather than mushed up in a patty because when shredded into bits and topped with some mint-like sauce, it’s really such a glorious mix in your mouth. Open-mouthed smile 

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Their scallop was.. good, but it was scallop, yknow! The black bean sauce was alright, and paired well enough with it and the flesh was firm and roe was creamy, but didn’t scream anything to me!

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Coated sparingly with hot sauce for a little kick, and breaded incredibly well – crispy, but not oily – the chicken was delicious, and got me craving for the ones back in Malaysia. Taste-wise, it compares well enough to the MSG-laden street food you can find in Camden, but with no sickly feeling after and it definitely wasn’t too salty!

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I found their guinea fowl with rice pretty meh, but possibly due to an inexperienced palate, as I haven’t had any experience with guinea fowl before so maybe worth trying for trying sake? It was like.. a softer version of chicken (wasn’t really my cup of tea), and flavour-wise, was alright. I loved the yolk, but for about 6 pounds, this dish isn’t enough to bring me back for another try!

Don’t forget, it’s really tiny as well!

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But this, oh this, is their Fried Bao with Horlicks ice-cream! For starters, Horlicks anything is amazing but coupled with FRIED bread, oh my gosh, it’s elevated to another level! Open-mouthed smile I loved it and because they put an entire scoop between the bun, there’s such a generous mouthful of icecream that you get in every bite.

All in all, it was a pleasant experience! For a small shop, we didn’t feel rushed or cramped and service was pleasant. The bill went up to just under 40 pounds for all that we ordered.

Bao is basically comfort food, but it’s quality comfort food and if you’re looking for deep-fried and not greasy, flavourful but not MSG-filled, or if you’re just a fan of buns, then you’ll see why this place is an absolute hit! If you don’t mind manually dabbing oil off your chicken cutlet, then there are plenty of other, cheaper places to eat at.

53 Lexington St Soho
W1F 9AS
Mon-Sat 12-3, 5.30-10

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Annnnd, back to hitting the books! Who me?

Isolabella!

Friday, April 17, 2015

I’m alive, thanks for asking! Open-mouthed smile 

It’s been almost an entire month, and long gone are the days where I used to blog so frequently that you’d find something new on here everyday! In fact, I used to blog so often that people would ask me to slow down so they could catch up. Rolling on the floor laughing

Well, is this enough time to catch up now? HUH? HUHH!?!?!

Naww, I kid.

I get it! In today’s world, young ‘uns aren’t going to be reading blogs! They’re out in the world, embracing the sun, doing things, meeting people, living life! No one has time to be on their computers or phones, scrolling through random ramblings of an undergraduate law student.. Random photographs, however? Now that’s another story. Smile with tongue out

Before I’m allowed to digress further, because work is seriously piling up as exams loom near (AHHHHH!!!), I just wanted to share the wonderful dinner I just had!

I’m a firm believer that all work and poor food makes Tiffany a very unhappy girl, so found the time to squeeze in a scrumptious Italian dinner today at Isolabella! (And it helps that it’s a mere 3 minute walk away from my place (And only 10 minutes from LSE!))

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All smiles!

The service was fast, the food was great, and everything was cheap! But before I talk about the great 50% off discount we had, take a look at what we ate! Open-mouthed smile 

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Clockwise from top: King prawn pasta in garlic and white wine, fried courgettes, chocolate mousse cake, and my staple Italian dessert – tiramisu!

The pasta was delicious and came in a decent portion too! Garlicky and yummy, with the pasta a little chewy (maybe slightly harder than al dente), the prawns were peeled and it was a great dish to share!

Courgettes were so so good – I’m almost surprised by how much I liked them! (They are vegetables, after all Sick smile). But they were juicy and crispy and not over-battered. If only it came with more salt or some salsa and it would’ve been absolutely perfect!

Mousse was good, but how badly can you screw up chocolate? Whilst the tiramisu didn’t make it to the top of my list (a little too light for my liking), it was good and coffee-infused, and could possibly even be credited for this late-night post. Smile with tongue out 

We also ordered a lamb shank with white risotto which was generous and glorious and deserved a picture all on its own!

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The risotto was so good, and the lamb shank was.. well, it was lamb shank! Smile with tongue out Hahah, I really enjoyed this dish, especially when I scooped the right amount of carrot, risotto, mushroom, and lamb all in one bite to make that perfect spoonful! *sighs blissfully*

The lamb could’ve used some gravy in my opinion, but it was still really enjoyable and so worth the money because everything that we ordered above only cost…

Wait for it..

£23.35!

Surprised smile

I’ve just recently discovered the marvels of Open Table and there’s a 50% discount when you book with them!

http://www.opentable.co.uk/isolabella < For your convenience! You’re welcome. Winking smile 

And if you’re wondering about the ambience, it was a pretty nice atmosphere! Although when we went in at 7pm, the lights were super bright. Over the meal, the lights were gradually being dimmed  that by the time we left, it had noticeably darkened.

Hahah, book at 11pm lor, then you’re eating in the dark. No need for Dans le noir anymore. Smile with tongue out 

Jokes aside, if you’re looking to head there, you can take a look at their website here!

Happy Easter, everyone! Study hard, but don’t burn yourself out. Chocolate is good (and a healthy dose of endorphins is always welcome) in this dark, difficult time so stock up good and buckle down!

DSC_6240My Easter treat. Open-mouthed smile 

Till next time,

Easter
(Can’t believe I’m turning 21 this year, lololol)

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