Bao is a tapas style Taiwanese restaurant with a focus on utterly delicious steamed fluffy bao buns. We’ve been aware of Bao for a while now, as last year we walked past the Fitzrovia restaurant on our way to Crazy Bear Fitzrovia but we were reminded of Bao when we took a different route to Oliver Maki a couple weeks ago and came across the Soho branch. When we came across Bao Fitzrovia it was early evening but it was already fairly busy with a queue outside. We attempted to make a reservation, but it was all booked out for weeks, and the soho restaurant doesn’t take any reservations. As it happens, in the Fitzrovia restaurant they keep the ground floor of the restaurant open for walk-ins only, so we decided to go fairly early and beat the crowd. We arrived at the restaurant just a little past 5:30pm on Thursday and it was pretty much empty, and we could choose anywhere to sit. Half an hour later the restaurant was full with a queue outside.
Inside the restaurant, the bar is in the middle of the room with seating all around the bar. The staff are all very friendly, especially our waitress who did a very good job explaining the menu to us newbies to Bao, and she also gave us excellent recommendations. We choose the XO Sweetcorn with spiced beef butter, Beef cheek and tendon nuggets, fried chicken chop with soy cured egg, Cod Black bao, Beef Shortrib bao and the half spiced chilli chicken with spring onion bao. We shared everything apart from the cod black bao and beef cheek and tendon nuggets. Amen enjoyed the sweetcorn more than I did especially with the spiced beef butter, I liked it without the butter mixed so I left it for Amen to enjoy – I’m nice like that! :). The beef shortrib bao was absolutely lovely and for someone who does not eat beef I have to say it was delicious, I only gave amen a tiny bite lol. Amen really liked the beef cheek and tendon nuggets but I didn’t, only because it had too much beef and wasn’t seasoned with anything. The fried chicken chop was a popular dish among all diners as everyone seemed to order it, it wasn’t fried too much and the chicken was succulent. It was tasty but I preferred the half spiced chilli chicken as it had a lot of flavour and the chicken was tender, paired with the BAO it was the perfect dish for me. Amen loved the cod black bao, the fish itself was so succulent that it melted in his mouth.
After all that we still we went for dessert, the Peanut ice cream roon bin with coriander. We didn’t exactly know what it was or what to expect but I knew Amen would love anything that has peanuts. When it came, it was ice cream inside a light filo pastry with peanut shavings and coriander, it looked like a burrito or a large spring roll. I thought the coriander was too much and I didn’t really like the pastry wrapped over ice cream, so I ate the ice cream with peanut shavings, which tasted real nice. Amen enjoyed the dessert, as it was different but still appetising. The drinks we had, which were recommended by our lovely waitress as they were the two non-alcoholic cocktails available, were both delicious.
Our first experience at Bao Fitzrovia was amazing, we really enjoyed the food and the dining experience was superb. Amen commented inside the restaurant that Bao is now one of his favourites. If you don’t mind queues then go anytime, but if you’re like us and don’t really want to wait in a long queue then go early and beat the crowd. Either way you wont be disappointed. I recommend for casual dining/date, and small to medium groups of foodies at the bar, or reserve a spot downstairs for larger groups.
Dress code: Casual
Amen’s Star Dish: Beef Shortrib bao (even though he only had a bite lol)
Shiima’s Star Dish: half spiced chilli chicken with spring onion bao.
Price: £25 each (excluding alcohol)
Rating: 5 out of 5
31 Windmill St