History and Background:
A pillowy soft cloudy steamed bun. Ours is made using milk.
Bao themselves, couldn’t have given us a better definition of Bao.
Hirata Buns (or Gua Bao) has been the latest food trend in London over the course of last year, following the burger craze and the ramen bar joints, London has become somewhat a foodie’s capital. These type of buns have slowly materialised onto London restaurant menus and can be ordered from Shoryu, Shoryu pop-up (outside JapanCen), Ippudo, Rock Lobsta (Mahiki), Jubo, OntheBab (Shoreditch review here), Yum Buns, and Flesh and Buns (review here).
Keeping it short, Bao London has settled for solid ground after starting as a pop up over at Netil Market (for around a year). Queues at Netil Market can be seen time and time again in the media, rapidly becoming one of the best, if not, the best Gua Bao’s in London. There’s not much to giveaway with its simplistic website, the restaurant is small and dainty, but surprisingly spacious given the size, (it should fit between 20-25 people).
Small plates are on offer, to mirror Taiwanese street style dining, with unique dishes such as Pig Blood Cake present on the menu.
I’m a bit hesitant to ‘review’ anything since it has only just opened, but since my opinions are fresh in my head… I’m not a big fan of eating fatty bits, so I thought the 40 day Rump Cap was okaay. I also couldn’t taste the full flavour of the century egg (dish below) that my mum makes so well with congee at home with, the plate was too bitty for my liking.
The Confit Pork Bao was my favourite for the night, with shaved shallot, pork belly braised really well, soft and tender, complementing the steamed buns very well.
4 hour braised pork belly topped with preserved vegetables and peanut shavings gave it a sweet, finishing touch! The buns are truly soft and fluffly and surpass those I have eaten from Shoryu, and Flesh and Buns by a mile.
The Horlicks ice-cream is genius, something different to the matcha, or pistachio gelatos I’ve been having. Can be quite fiddly especially if you’re sharing, I couldn’t chew through my bun, so I’m not sure about them. A bit on the hard side. (Menu states that it has condensed milk, not sure if I tasted any). This dessert is also reminiscent of Little Bao in Soho, Hong Kong, but Little Bao have really, really tiny portions in comparison.
Service: As I sat at the bar, they were attentive, service was prompt (aside from waiting for the ice-cream which took longer)
The bits and bobs:
- No bookings, expect queues
- Founders are looking into including three cup frog legs, and shaved ice desserts (such as mango, red beans with condensed milk) Exciting!
- Other recommendations include cold foam tea, and the Fried Chicken Bao looks appetizing
- Takeaways available, open 12-3.30pm, 5.30-10.30pm Monday to Fridays, Saturday 12pm-10.30pm