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A hot little number, the Baozi Inn mini-chain was among the first to break the Cantonese stranglehold on Chinatown. These folksy looking trio of restaurants, related to the more upmarket Bar Shu, major in the flavours of regional China, especially the fiery cooking of Sichuan – though each branch has its own specialities. There’s no doubt you’ll get ‘proper’ Chinese food whichever you choose, witness the likes of cold ‘golden coin’ ox tripe, served as a starter at the Little Newport Street outlet (a tiny little townhouse formerly called Baiwei). If you’d prefer a less uncompromising introduction to the cuisine here, head for the mao cai hot-pot broths, into which you can drop up to 16 different ingredients to boil. The Romilly Street operation is where to order jiaozi (wontons), grills and ‘flaming skewers’, while Newport Court has more of a northern Chinese accent; don’t miss the house special baozi filled buns either, which are fluffy, soft and delectable.
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22 January 2011
Awful food. Overcooked noodles, uninteresting sauce presented with no care and soup, that was both bland and faintly unpleasant. The staff were cheerful enough but the food was so poor I could barely bring myself to leave a tip.
29 May 2010
Chinese restaurants don't get much more ‘revolutionary’ than this. By revolutionary, I mean the decor which looks like a room in a Northern Chinese village pasted with red lanterns, propaganda music and newspaper cut-outs.
In fact, not even in Beijing you will find a restaurant that transforms you 50 years back. The main review is only half right about the food. Most of the dishes, like the Baozi meal deal and porridge (???) are Northern Chinese dishes.
Because of the cold climate in the north, the staple food is rice, porridge and lots of Baozi (usually eaten for breakfast).
The quality of the noodle dishes can vary, such as the Bamboo Beef noodles. On a good day, the beef is spiced just right and the broth should be hearty. Although, because it can get very busy, they probably don't have enough time to let the beef soak.
Still, most of the dishes are easily better than Leong's legend (the food is getting consistently worse there).
05 January 2010
I am cheating a little with this review as nothing actually passed our lips at Baozi Inn the other evening. However, our 5 minute experience compelled me to write a few words. The place was busy but there were a couple of free tables. A rather gruff waiter pointed to a table right by the serving area so we asked if we could have the free table in the corner. Apparently not; strange considering we'd just heard him tell a couple of other customers that they seated everyone on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. A couple of menus were plonked down on the table and as we struggled to find anywhere to put our coats etc. a rather surly waitress came over to take our drinks order. I requested a glass of water; “still or sparkling” was the immediate response, which rather amused and annoyed me considering the informal surroundings. In the meantime, my fellow diner had been bumped three of fours times by passing staff so we decided to leave. If you're in Chinatown and want a cheap meal with rather more pleasant service, then I'd highly recommend Leong's Legends Continues on Lisle St where we had an excellent meal instead.
20 October 2008
Went here for lunch on a Thursday. Restaurant was half-full when we arrived and almost full when we left. Decor is a little dark and the tables/chairs are a little low for my liking (I'm tall) but overall it is fine, and does achieve a sort of ‘chinese inn’ feel.
I had the stir-fried pork with dried chillis and sauce on noodles. The pork was very tender, the noodles were nice (though a fraction too soft for my liking) and the overall taste was delicious. The spiciness was just about right – hot enough to be considered sichuan cuisine but not hot enough to put people off (I know a lot of purists would like it hotter though). The dish was a little oily, but that may be more to do with the cuisine than the cooking. We also shared some pork crescent dumplings in chilli oil, which were delicious.
There are cheaper places in Chinatown, but it was very good value for the quality. I will be going back soon to try some of the other dishes (though the menu isn't huge).
19 October 2008
Awful Chinese restaurant — but successful with people (most are tourists and kids) that have no clue about authentic Chinese food.
The noodles are mushy and the soup was bland — and super sodium enriched (plus cold tea was full of sugar).
The service was also pushy — they asked us several times if we wanted another drink, and constantly
annoyed us while eating.
This place is taking us for a ride — but do Londoners really care about good Chinese food,
or just to fill their stomach after a night out?
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