Latest opening: Baozilnn London Bridge

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Baozilnn London Bridge new Chinese restaurant

Related tags: Chinese cuisine, Chinatown, Casual dining

Sichuanese restaurateur Shao Wei is pushing ahead with his rollout of his most casual restaurant brand with a flagship site close to Borough Market.

What:​ A large Chinese restaurant just outside Borough Market. Baozilnn launched in Chinatown back in 2009 as a basic but tasty restaurant that specialised in spicy Northern Chinese street food - including the eponymous steamed buns - and the odd Sichuanese dish. It was a breath of fresh air a decade ago when non-Cantonese Chinese restaurants in Chinatown - and indeed elsewhere - were few and far between. Within the last few years the brand has expanded significantly, opening concessions at Market Halls sites in Victoria and Intu Lakeside as well as a bricks and mortar site near Chinatown on Soho’s Romilly Street.

Who:​ Baozilnn is owned by Sichuanese restaurateur Shao Wei, whose portfolio of restaurants also include the more upmarket Ba Shu and Baiwei. Venturing outside Chinatown​ has seen Wei look to make the concept more mainstream: the original site in Newport Court is much the same, but the new openings have been designed to be more approachable for non-Chinese diners with tighter menus that combine an eclectic selection of dim sum with a smattering of more obvious Chinese dishes.

The food:​ Baozilnn London Bridge specialises in Cantonese-style roast meats including duck, crispy roast pork and char siu (going forward, the plan is for each restaurant to have a speciality). This is available over rice and noodle as well as in a ‘special set’ with pancakes and Hunanese and Sichuanese style condiments. Alongside siu mei the bafflingly-large menu - there aren’t an excessive number of dishes on offer but the laminated A4 booklet runs to over a dozen pages - lists Baozilnn staples including jiaozi dumplings; cloud ear fungus in pickled chillies and vinegar; red braised pork belly; dan dan noodles; and shredded chicken in special red oil. Also new for the London Bridge site are enormous soup dumplings and a more extensive range of Cantonese dishes.

The vibe: ​Billed as the group's flagship, the 120-cover restaurant is spread over three floors with an open kitchen housed on the ground and a cocktail bar and lounge area on the first floor. Like the other bricks and mortar venues the site looks unmistakably Chinese, but is a little more stripped back and restrained than its older siblings with a premium feel inline with its rather more spendy menu.

And another thing:​ Wei is fast becoming one of the UK’s most prominent Chinese restaurateurs with two further sites set to open over the next few months: one at Market Hall's upcoming Oxford Circus site and another in as yet undisclosed location in Camden.

34-36 Southwark Street, London

Related topics: Openings, Casual Dining

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