Bao Fitzrovia

Taiwanese·
££££
·
Bronze Award
·

SquareMeal Review of Bao Fitzrovia

Bronze Award

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. 

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Under £30
Cuisines
Taiwanese
Ambience
Cool, Fun, Lively
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating
Special Features
Counter dining, Vegetarian options
People
Dates, Group dining [8+]
Food Hygiene Rating

About Bao Fitzrovia

Part of the JKS restaurant group and with multiple BAO restaurants all over London (also Borough, Soho, King’s Cross and London Fields), its Fitzrovia branch is the second of the BAO chain to open and can be found on the corner of Windmill Street serving its synonymous Taiwanese fluffy dumplings.  

The restaurant is set over two floors and offers the same pared-back, café-style interiors found across all BAO sites. With clay walls and large windows to flood the place with plenty of light, it makes a bright and relaxed spot to stop by for lunch or dinner and gorge on bao buns until your heart’s content. Inside BAO Fitz there is a ‘U shaped’ wooden bar inspired by the Edward Hopper painting, Nighthawks, while during the summer months customers can perch on outdoor seating when the weather is warm.  

Paper menus invite diners to tick their choices via a check-box ordering system. Discover xiao chi snacks (small plates), da chi middle plates (large plates) and, of course, is signature baos. Nibbles might include braised pork shin sushi and crispy noodle chips, while sharing dishes feature the likes of XO sweetcorn with ox heart, Taiwanese fried chicken with cured egg yolk and sacha razor clam and whelks noodle. Of course, the main event is those bao buns which includes the classic (braised pork, peanut powder, fermented greens, coriander), confit pork (aged pork belly, pork sauce, hot sauce, dried shallots) and black cod (battered cod, lemon mayo, hot sauce, NG sauce, sesame BAO).

Drinks revolve around a focused menu of wine and sake, which can be enjoyed around the counter ‘U’ bar, along with a selection of guest bar cocktails, dream drinks, beers and hot and cold teas. Look out for its signature peanut milk, which is made in-house with fresh vanilla, for a non-alcoholic option.  


FAQs

Does BAO Fitzrovia offer private dining?

Yes, there is a private dining room downstairs that can hold between 6-12 people

Helpful? 0

This venue also offers

BAO Fitzrovia
Private Group Dining

BAO Fitzrovia

Location

31 Windmill Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 2JN

020 3011 1632

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon Closed
Tue 12:00-15:00
Wed 12:00-15:00
Thu 12:00-15:00
Fri 12:00-15:00
Sat Closed
Sun Closed
Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue 17:30-22:30
Wed 17:30-22:30
Thu 17:30-22:30
Fri 17:30-22:30
Sat 12:00-22:00
Sun Closed

Reviews

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3 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Emma S

29 March 2019  
Favours are extremely authentic, well priced with excellent service and a casual informal atmosphere.

Jacquelyn W

04 February 2018  
Food & Drink 4
Service 3.5
Atmosphere 3
Value 2
Glorified version of Taiwan street food
Coming from Hong Kong, I used to go to Taipei 3 or 4 times a year just to eat - their night market is famous for the great variety of street food and it’s very good value for money too. BAO manages to bring the flavours to London, but in a glorified version. The pork belly bao stole the show - the bao was fluffy and soft, and the pork belly was juicy and had just the right amount of fat. Overall a really good spot for satiating your craving for Taiwanese food.

Vi Vian

12 September 2016  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 4
Value 3
Bao 1 or Bao 2?
It was definitely going to be a comparison between both the Baos. That was why I had to think about which and why was it that I preferred one to the other. Was it the first because it set the precedence? Or was it the second because the second lived up to it? It was a bit of both. The style of food was very similar. I felt I enjoyed the first Bao because it gave a better insight to what they could do beyond baos. On the other hand, I also enjoyed the second Bao because of their unique combination of dishes and flavours. Having slept on the matter, I preferred my first Bao experience. But with the two outlets, where would be your first Bao experience? And that was why Bao is good. Not only the food wow-ed but it kept different aspects of conversation going. Well done, and I hope to see what is coming next! beef cheek and tendon nuggets £4.00 – just as I knew Bao would do a good deep fry, the nuggets were meaty, compact with meat and in a way I didn't mind if they were not as perfectly shaped. It was a good first dish to remind me of Bao. crispy prawn heads £4.75 – growing up in an Asian family who chew and suck the juices of crustaceans, I did not find any speciality to this dish but I find that I can eat prawn heads without being judged! fried chicken chop, hot sauce £6.00 – good, well seasoned fried chicken in a yolky hot sauce. It's really difficult to share the dish! raw langoustine, dulse, aged soy, oyster leaf £5.00 – my favourite. The flesh was so juicy that I thought I tasted mango. Forget all the baos now, serve only this to me! tomatoes, plum powder £2.75 – I was reluctant to order this dish because to be honest, it was just tomatoes. They probably use the best cherry tomatoes but it is still tomatoes, right? Pairing it with the plum powder, I find, was genius! The plum powder is so commonly used in Malaysia to dip with fruits and, tomatoes are fruits, right? sanbei octopus £6.00 – good texture to the octopus and I enjoyed the sauce that it was marinated in. beef shortrib, marrow, eryngii £6.75 – a slight let down compared to the rest of the dishes and to their original guinea fowl in the first Bao. The baos were consistently good. The fluffiness of the buns, the taste of the filling and the presentation were maintained across all three of their outlets. Having their baos now, I thought that their buns were a little too fluffy. I would like my bread with more texture and not just to deflate when I take my bite. classic bao (braised pork, ferment coriander and peanuts) £4.00 bao confit (pork belly, crispy shallots hot sauce) £4.50 bao lamb (shoulder, green sauce, soy pickled chilli) £5.00 bao cod (fried cod, ng sauce, hot sauce) £5.00 – it was a good bao. Black looking food is very appealing. Clever twist. Average spend on food per person: £30.00 - £35.00
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