It was looking as if Alan Yau’s Duck & Rice was all set to be the Soho Chinese restaurant of the year – until an outside contender, Bao, slipped across the finish line just ahead of the serial entrepreneur who created Wagamama, Yauatcha and Hakkasan. Bao, on the other hand, started out as a street food stall, and opened without much fanfare in Soho – yet almost immediately the queues formed. So what’s the secret of Bao’s success? Just the usual reasons: it’s affordable, and the food is terrific. The menu’s based on Taiwanese street snacks, from bao (steamed then filled buns), through pig’s blood cake, to vegetarian dishes such as oyster mushrooms cooked with jade-coloured fragments of century egg. The oolong teas are fabulous, and so is the service. Take a bow, Bao.
By Guy Dimond
Find out where else to get Chinese food in London.