Bao is the brainchild of Erchen Chang, Shing Tat Chung and Wai Ting Chung, who currently operate a six seat bar and market stall on Netil Market, serving Taiwanese steamed milk buns or 'bao'.
The new restaurant will open at 53 Lexington Street in Spring 2015, offering a menu of buns, snacks and larger dishes, as well as desserts, cocktails, sake and whiskey.
“After years of travelling, recipe experimentation and cooking at Netil Market, we are thrilled to have secured our first restaurant in Soho,” said Shing Tat Chung.
Food and drink
The new Bao restaurant takes inspiration from the Xiao Chi, or ‘small eats’ restaurants, in Taiwan.
Bao's signature steamed milk buns – which are made to a recipe created by husband and wife team Shing Tat Chung and Erchen Chang – will be central to the menu at the restaurant. Variations include ‘The Classic’ - braised pork, peanut powder, fermented greens and coriander; Lamb shoulder; and ‘Daikon’ - panko crumbed daikon radish, daikon pickle, hot sauce and coriander.
The menu will also feature a range of Taiwanese-inspired snacks and mains such as tendon puffs; pig blood cake; lamb tongue fries with curry dip; battered sweet potato with plum pickle salt; daikon tots with century egg; turkey rice, quails egg and pickle; and fried chicken marinated in soy milk, with a homemade hot sauce.
Desserts will include the deep fried bao ice cream sandwich and ice cream wrap with peanut brittle and coriander.
“Taiwanese food is still little known here…to able to excite and intrigue our customers with dishes they have never tried before is what I love most about being a chef,” said Shing Tat Chung.
Chang will oversee the front-of-house offering, including a range of Bao signature cocktails such as shochu with plum shrub; and peanut milk, barley shochu and honey.
Hot Oolong and cold Foam tea imported from Taiwan, sake and whisky from Taiwan and Japan and Taiwanese beer will also be available.
The restaurant interior will feature a ‘stripped-back’ look with wooden cladding and paneling on the walls, ceiling fans and a ceramic tiled floor. A low, long bar with Ercol stools will stretch half the length of the room, and there will be shelving to store home-made pickles and preservatives.
Bao won the Young British Foodies in 2013, as well as the ‘People’s Choice’ and ‘Best Main Dish’ titles at the British Street Food awards. The concept caught the attention of the Sethi family after they tried the steamed buns at Netil Market.
Karam, Jyo and Sunaina Sethi - whose restaurant Gymkhana was named the UK's best at the National Restaurant Awards this year - are passionate about backing young ambitious chefs and have previously supported new venues Bubbledogs, Kitchen Table and Lyle’s.