Hattie Lloyd 01/11/22
BAO Borough | Steamed Buns and Karaoke
BAO was one of the first restaurants to bring Taiwan’s deliciously fluffy steamed buns to the London market back in 2015.
And now, at last, it’s brought those buns to the London market.
BAO Borough is stationed right next to one of London’s most famous food markets, a stone’s throw from El Pastor and the other delights of Stoney Street. With a roomy dining area lit by a cool, angular skylight, it’s BAO’s largest space to date, and its size is seemingly amplified by the huge mirrored wall at the back. It all feels very casual & informal, with stool seating, simple decor, and even a hatch leading directly from the kitchen to the street for anyone wanting to grab something on their way past.
Bun-wise, the menu includes several new additions to add to their Classic (stuffed with slow-braised pork belly, coriander, fermented greens, and peanut powder). You can expect a chicken nugget bao with hot sauce & Sichuan mayo; a hot-dog-esque shrimp ‘Shia Song’ bao loaded with carrot, celery, and mayo; and a smoked aubergine bao decorated with a wonton crisp.
Non-bun-wise, there’s a grill putting out juicy scallops with spiced beef butter; hot yellow chilli chicken wings; and glazed tofu with pickled cabbage. It’s all kind of street-style, inspired by ‘late-night commuter food’ across Asia.
The drinks at BAO Borough are just as impressive, with highballs made by blending fruit from their Taiwan-style ‘fruit fridge’ and ultra-carbonated soda from their Suntory Whisky Soda machine (one of only two in the country), yielding drinks like their Lemon Tower, with salted citrus cordial, whisky, and a literal tower of lemon slices. Otherwise, there’s BAO beer, BAO sake, BAO wine, and cocktails such as their QQ-HI, which has an intriguing combo of lager, grape liquor, and aloe vera foam.
And now the bit we’ve all been waiting for: the karaoke room. Underneath the main dining space, and you’ll find one of the most high-tech karaoke bars in London – the screen plays actual videos rather (than the traditional, circa-1998 animations), and there are multi-coloured disco lights that respond to sound, flashing in time with the song. It’s large enough to hold up to a dozen warblers, and you can of course get cocktail pitchers and platters of bao brought down to you…
…so you won’t have to sing for your supper.
NOTE: BAO Borough is open daily from noon. You can book a table, or the karaoke room, HERE.
BAO Borough | 13 Stoney Street, SE1 9AD
Like dining out in Borough Market? Check out our favourite restaurants in London Bridge
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13 Stoney Street, Borough, South London, SE1 9AD
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