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Hot on the heels of Bao Soho, this second restaurant sticks to the blueprint: contemporary Taiwanese small plates served in an intimate dining space. In contrast to Soho, Fitzrovia’s open kitchen, as well as a bar nestled in the middle of a giant sharing table, results in a more dynamic and inclusive dining experience. After ticking off our choices on the paper menu, we ate our way through a steady stream of served-when-ready dishes. Xiao-chi (appetisers) include crispy prawn heads dipped in mayonnaise and fried chicken chop, served alongside egg yolk and hot sauce. The famed soft-steamed buns don’t disappoint and the confit pork belly option, paired with crispy shallots and soy-pickled chilli, gets the flavour and spice balance just right. A concise list of cocktails named after Taiwanese films offers the perfect accompaniment to this affordable comfort food. If you have room for dessert (these are deceptively filling small plates), a refreshing chocolate and toasted rice milkshake ably offsets the flavour-packed mains. Servers on our visit were knowledgeable and attentive, but with bookings only taken for groups of at least four, you’ll probably be queuing to get in – Bao’s greatest drawback is its own popularity.
Fitzrovia has always had more than its fair share of restaurants given the relatively small size of this neighbourhood, hemmed in by Bloomsbury, Soho and Marylebone. Even so, the area has bloomed in recent years with some top notch restaurants opening in Fitzrovia from the revamped Newman Arms to Piquet and, of course, the famed Dabbous. Even the merely satisfactory restaurants are often better than many of the the overhyped eateries in other parts of the capital.
More from The Picky Glutton »
Bao, Fitzrovia – the only solution to beating the crowd in a non-reservation restaurant is to go early. I could not forsee myself having dinner as early as 17:30 hours and to queue for 90 minutes like I did before. We went for lunch. With babies, push chairs and the girls. Luckily, Cassie could sneak out for lunch.I was there earlier than I expected and was gladly surprised to be first in line. So excited, I insta-ed, tweeted and Facebook-ed it!
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