This follow-up to Bun House on Greek Street makes for great window shopping, with big bamboo baskets steaming in full view and a line of would-be diners queuing at the counter to order.
The food is available to takeaway, which should probably have been the limit of Bun House’s ambitions; nothing about our meal felt remotely conducive to eating in, from the tiny tables and cramped chairs to the get-your-own sauces and chopsticks and the lack of crockery and glassware.
We’d have been prepared to overlook all of this, though, had the food been revelatory but what we ate was average at best. The signature doughy buns – pork, beef, chicken and lamb – are all-right enough, but too starchy to make a meal of. Pork and prawn shumai needed a hefty dab of chilli sauce to taste interesting.
Smashed cucumber is served with chilli sauce in a paper cup; another paper cup contained the best thing we ate, spongy, funky tripe scattered with coriander and chilli. Put off by the sad little mound of chicken-wing bones piled directly on the tabletop, we decided to call it a day rather than wait for a beef-brisket rice pot which showed no sign of appearing.
This kind of homespun amateurishness would be forgivable in a street-food market at the end of a tube line, but not moments from Leicester Square in one of Europe’s biggest Chinatowns. Bun House is certainly cheap, but nothing about it made us cheerful.