Casual Taiwanese inspired street food
|Lu Rou Fan, Egg, Fish Floss Rice|
I recalled Bao used to be a little street food vendor not long ago, and now is a little restaurant chain with 5 sites across London. The latest Bao site is in Shoreditch, but it is a little different vs other joints. It is called Bao Noodles Shop, and as you can guess from its name, it does noodles, as well as their classic baos. The strange thing for me is that, out of the 19 dishes on the menu, there are only 2 noodles dishes, somewhat confusing as it labels itself as a noodle shop. The menu also contains a lot of deep-fried items and carbs, which appears to make it as simple as it can for the kitchen while keeping costs down.
|Crispy Tripe, Spring Onion Dip|
|Iberico pork bao|
The 'Lu Rou' rice, braised pork belly rice is a classic from Taiwan, the Bao's version contains chunkier meat (and not in a good way, as it wasn't moist) and I felt the classic flavours of spices and herbs weren't really there. The Iberico pork bao was a piece of deep-fired pork covered with breadcrumb inside a bun, very fusion. The pork was well seasoned and has a nice richness as you would expect from Iberico pork, but frankly, I think it would serve better on its own than inside a bun. The Taiwanese beef noodles were better, with a good depth of umami flavours and the noodle just cooked right, the beef shortribs were very tender and loaded with the bold flavours from the soup stock.
|Slow-cooked Beef Cheek & Shortrib Noodle|
|Rare Beef Rump Noodle in a light beef soup, soy, cured egg|
Perhaps I have been to Taiwan, so I found everything served in Bao noodles shop was a weaker version than anything I encountered there. I totally understand you cannot just simply copy and paste what worked in another country, as you would need to adapt it to suit the local taste profile. But I must say it was overall a fairly average experience, it wasn't bad at all, but for the price, it wasn't really worth it. It is such a shame as all the so-called Taiwanese restaurants in London are all pretty underwhelming since Xu has closed down (funny enough, Xu is by the same people behind Bao).
What I paid:
£32 per person with a soft drink
Average cost without drinks and services:
1 Redchurch St, London E2 7DJ