Time Out says
An ultra-on-trend bao joint with big portions at little prices.
Anyone with a social media account knows what a bao is by now: these fluffy white pseudo-sandwiches occupy more collective screen space than the aubergine emoji. The tipping point came last spring when street food trader Bao opened a dedicated restaurant in Soho and created the sort of queue you’d associate with Alton Towers.
Twelve months on, Taiwanese snacks are now a full-on London food trend, and first to the punch in south-east London is Mr Bao, a pocket-sized restaurant from one of the owners of Miss Tapas, which serves better-than-solid Spanish food on nearby Choumert Road. It’s not just the food that’s on-trend – between the naked bulbs and functional decor, this looks exactly how you’d expect a buzz-surfing restaurant in a fast-gentrifying area to look. It’s becoming a tired aesthetic, but souvenirs from the Far East and an Asian-only beer policy add character.
But how about them buns? The first thing to note is their size – they’re a good 50 percent bigger than you’d find in town, yet are similarly priced around the £4 mark. There are five to try, plus a selection of sides and gooey bao s’more for dessert. They even do brunch. Fillings focus on pan-Asian flavours: shiitake mushrooms with teriyaki and fried chicken with wasabi mayo and kimchi. Options like slow-cooked lamb with mint or prawn with guacamole reveal international influence. I tried the whole lot and found not a dud among them; every single ingredient – from zingy pickled bits to punchy dressings – makes its presence felt, while the steamed milk buns are soft and light, just the way London likes them.
Service, if anything, is a touch over-efficient, which doesn’t help the hurry-hurry vibe of what’s clearly intended as a high-turnover operation. And while Peckhamites may feel that queueing for their dinner sets a dangerous precedent, thankfully there’s the option to put your name down and go for a pint while you wait.
Offering a slice of Soho in SE15, Mr Bao delivers great value, modish Taiwanese cuisine and – like it or not – the slightly stifling buzz that comes with it.
Founder Frank’s legacy of up-market street food remains the talk of the town after 3 years of opening. The electric atmosphere sits true with Taiwan’s open-minded culture creating a space that is warm, romantic and vibrant.
The menu is split between a range of sharing plates and an array of buns to be devoured in a tapas-style so sensory you’ll be distracting your friends to get the last dumpling. Our all-stars are a 24 hour marinated fried chicken with ginger, spring onion and secret spices paralleled by the legendary classic pork belly bao smothered in roasted peanuts.
We’re working hard to assure our meat free alternatives and vegan options exceed expectations to make you feel satisfied and thinking “how is tofu this tasty?”.
From the signature lychee daiquiri to our own barrel-aged plum wine negroni, the cocktail menu is designed to get those shoulders relaxed and lips smacking.
Get your cameras ready because on the weekends we put on a bottomless brunch to shout about, behemoth sized plates such as the Full Taiwanese and Bao Benedict match-made with cocktails of Zenzi Lychee and Feng Mango.
So whether you're popping in with a date, a mate, the kids or even the whole crew. Our team's got you covered with a smile and experience you won’t forget.
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Users say (32)
Average User Rating
4.6 / 5
- 5 star:24
- 4 star:4
- 3 star:3
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:0
After a massive hype from both friends and reviews, we had big expectations for this popluar local haunt - but sorry to say, we left feeling it was a bit lack lustre.
The meal would have been improved had the chicken and the prawn bao not been deepfried, leaving it oily and bland, and the broccoli was given a little TLC.
We had a Mangorita and a Lime Beer, both were below parr and not the sharp drinks we needed to cut through the heavy food.
The service was excellent however, quick and friendly and hey, got to look out for your locals - hence the 2 stars.
Maybe a menu change and we would give it another go. Ditch the deep fryer!
Have wanted to try this place for ages and finally went last night (28/10) as a birthday treat, we didn't book a table but was able to get a place at the window. The food was just amazing, so flavourful and tasty... We may have ordered too much but we couldn't help it, I highly recommend the pork Buns as they aren't smothered in that sickly sweet sauce every other restaurant seems to do. Word of warning - the cocktails are a tad potent but that's not a complaint. Thoroughly enjoyed our experience and we are going back this Sunday!
Such a fun, relaxed and delicious place to eat. After 15+ visits, I am yet to find any problems with Mr Bao. Great staff, interesting, punchy food (marinated egg seems odd but is completely spectacular and £1.50) and a fantastic atmosphere. Vote Mr Bao, nao.
Adore this place. Always leave wanting more. Great range of things to try and the brunch is amazing to
super friendly and simply delicious steamed buns with a range of flavours. All of them good. Could eat them all day.
All The best meals I had this year were at mr Bao. Food it outstanding and every time I go there is a selection of delicious cocktails.
Incredible food! Every time I'm there I can't go past the sticky pork bao, or the dumplings if they're on special that day. Staff are always friendly, atmosphere is chilled, and it's reasonably priced which always helps. Frank and his team are awesome.
My lasting memory of Mr Bao is of divine little plates of loveliness with steamed buns to sink your teeth into. They create perfect dishes to share, with wonderful cocktails and a friendly atmosphere. So pleased to welcome them to my neighbourhood.
Mr Bao is a superb local restaurant. The food is delicious, so fresh and vibrant & a little different. It offers great value for money and is very family friendly. It's the sort of place that makes kids excited about food. The service and atmosphere just top things off as its owned and run by a great great team of very welcoming people. Can't recommend it enough.
Absolutely loved this place! We had to wait for a table, as one does nowadays, but was well worth it. The food came out quickly; it was fresh and so delicious! Can't wait to go back.
The food was quite good but thy did get our order wrong and then the bill as well - we had to ask four times until they got it right.
Loved this place. We've now been a few times, going back for the food (make sure you have the Mr Bao, the Mushroom bao and the broccoli!) and also the good service. The girls aways do their best to fit us in, and once when we sat at the bar we had a good chat with the barman as he made the desserts and drinks. Great buzz, and good prices (around £40 for two with drinks). My tip would be to get there early as it can get very busy.
Went last Friday evening and had a fab time. Was absolutely ravenous and ordered all the Bao's, the steak special and a bunch of sides (8 or 9 dishes in total) plus the dessert and it was all really tasty and hit the spot for 2 hungry people!
All the staff were friendly and it was interesting to watch them crank out the dishes in such a tiny kitchen area.
And I'd disagree with Jeremy, had a good feed (and I can eat!) and thought it was reasonably priced.
Small, overpriced portions - especially the sharing plates. Had the recommended 8 dishes between two but left feeling hungry.