The soothing aesthetics at Bam Bou recall the colonial Indochine of decades past. Four floors of the Fitzrovia townhouse are done up in dark wood and deep colours, with tasteful orientalist touches. The menu sweeps through Vietnam, Thailand and China with dumplings, soups, noodle dishes, curries, and fish and meat in both small-plate and main-meal portions that blend the flavours of East and West.
The food isn’t high on authenticity, but dishes are well presented and the better ones – such as a small plate of wok-fried cuttlefish with lemongrass, ginger and chilli – have an appealing spice and aroma. The star dish was sticky, tender slow-braised ox cheek with morning glory and sesame seeds. Less successful was a crab and green-mango salad with chilli dressing, which was short on crab and mango but plentiful on (unannounced) grated carrot.
Desserts are in a more western vein, with the likes of trio of chocolate brownie or coconut panna cotta with spiced pineapple. Service is poised and friendly, as befits a restaurant that’s part of the same group as the Ivy and Scott’s. Dining is on three floors, with the top floor given over to the luxe Red Room cocktail bar.