I have been meaning to go to BAO ever since I first tried bao buns at Camden, mainly because whenever I searched for top 10 Bao buns in London, BAO always came first.
I heard that there is a queue going into BAO, so I was pleasantly surprised when we managed to grab the last two seats by the window. I liked the ordering method, mostly because it reminded me of IKEA as you had to mark the menu by putting the quantity beside the food you wanted to order.
We wanted the fried chicken Baos because we had tried them at other restaurants/food markets and they usually are quite good. I felt a bit more adventurous and for my second one, I chose the lamb shoulder. We also had a side of sweet potato fries, which were nothing like anything I have ever had, they were deep fried in batter and tasted sweeter than usual. The menu also had a Bao filled with fried Horlicks ice cream on it…this sounds like a childhood dream come true and I definitely want to try it asap!
While we waited for our food, our lovely waiter made sure we had plenty of water. Trying not to stare at other peoples food, I decided to look outside, when I noticed the famous queue. There was a BAO ‘pit stop’ on the opposite side of the street, with a queue forming down. I think the queue had 10+ people at its longest. The waitress was great though and took their drinks order and took drinks out into the street. The turnaround in the restaurant was fast as well, so most of the people got seated by the time we left.
So is it worth the queue? YES from me. NO from my companion. I thought the chicken was amazing, the lamb was soft and melted in my mouth while the buns themselves were like chewing into what I imagine clouds taste like. All in all a perfect bao experience for me! My companion thought the food was great, but the portions did not make him full and at £5 a Bao, the portion to price ratio was not great. To be fair, I probably could have had two more Baos – but that has nothing to do with the size and everything to do with the taste – YUM!