BAO is one of those places that virtually anyone who’s anyone that loves food, scribbled down on their must-visit list as soon as news of a permanent venue spread like wild-fire. After viewing a seemingly never-ending number of food shots on Instagram, my desire to go was even greater than before.
Last Saturday, the other half was heading to Liverpool for the footie, so I’d planned a day to explore a little around London. I’m well known amongst my close friends for thoroughly researching/planning trips, so having time to wander with an itinerary in my pocket suits me just fine. Obviously food always plays a part in planning, so this was the perfect opportunity for my first visit to the new place. However, this wasn’t my first encounter with BAO, as i’d fallen, like many others for their classic braised pork bao.
Hearing stories of people queuing and lining the street daily wasn’t going to deter me, so when I strolled up at 12:20pm (BAO opens at 12pm), it wasn’t a shock to see a line 20+ deep up the street. Forty-five minutes later after joining the queue, I was next in line and handed a tick list menu to peruse, whilst they cleared table tops.
The taiwanese menu is broken down into xiao chi (small eats/snacks), bao and sides all reasonably priced considering. I think something that’s been well thought out is the pricing, I managed five dishes off the menu and tea which was £29.53, including service charge. With a bit of careful planning and a partner in crime in tow, it would probably be possible to order the whole lot and steadily work our way through it all. To me, the menu is one that pulls at the heart strings of food lovers; with each dish I had still resonating in my memory long after lunch was over.
Many a good word has been said about this team and their food; I can only wholeheartedly agree with them. I won’t go into detail on all the dishes, but from the five I ordered, my favourite from a lunch full of delights was the 40 day rump cap in aged white soy!!! Such a sublime piece of meat from Warrens in Cornwall, possessing an undeniable meatiness that I’d not experienced before, all the more emphasised by the white soy. The soy I was told is virtually impossible to get your hands on outside of Taiwan making it extra special!!
Apart from the food which was utterly delicious and refined, the service was excellent!! I have no idea how they manage in such a small space, but they do and do it really well.
Yeah, there was a wait, but it was so well worth it!!! However, next time I’ll get there before 12pm!!!
53 Lexington Street