293 Rye Lane, Peckham, SE15 4UA
If you haven’t tried a Bao Bun – you need to sort your life out…
Bought to the attention of hungry Londoner’s by the likes of Yum Bun & Bao people are willing to queue for sometimes over an hour (even in the pouring rain) just to get their hands on one of these delicious Taiwanese steamed buns.
But things have just got a bit exciting, well if you live near Peckham as they are getting a Bao venue of their own!
Founders Frank Yeung and Nick Birkett have transformed a restaurant that has previously lain empty and neglected for over a year – aiming to ‘breathe new life’ into Rye Lane, and boy they’ve done just that.
Arriving hungry a couple of Wednesday’s ago we were a tad over excited, we knew just how good those god-damn bao buns tasted and we were sure that Mr Bao would deliver.
We were greeted warmly by Frank who showed us to our table. One big bonus is that you can book!
Umeshu Plum Wine seemed like the most appropriate thing to kick the evening off with, steeped in Sake this was a sweet and incredibly fragrant pre-dinner beverage.
We ordered the lot, no holding back tonight!
The Golden Kimchi went down a storm – usual kimchi can sometimes be a bit hit-and-miss which makes us sad as its a dish we really want to like, but Mr Bao’s really hit the spot.
Topping up on our 5-a-day we chomped on some Smacked Cucumber, a common Asian appetiser.
An odd name for a cucumber dish you may ask? This dish got its name by the way the cucumbers are whacked with the flat of a cleaver blade in order to encourage them to absorb the flavours of the dressing. Genius!
Moving to something more meaty…Fried Chicken.
Oh my Lordy, the Colonel better watch his back, there is a new chicken master in town.
Crispy yet the batter wasn’t too thick and packed actual flavour, no hint of grease either…plus that drizzle of mayo rocketed us into fried chicken nirvana. We contemplated ordering more….
From the specials – Soy Marinated Beef Sirloin – sprinkled with sea salt and served with a dollop of wasabi, the taste was enough to make you weep but sadly it wasn’t the most tender meat we’d tasted.
Nevertheless we didn’t dwell on this tiny point, especially as the bao’s began to arrive at the table…
Now tell me something – glancing at this perfectly created Bao which meat do you think fills this pillowy bun?
Shredded Lamb? Pulled Pork?
Nope – its Shiitake Mushroom with Teriyaki and Miso Mayo! I know – we found it hard to believe too, but I’ve got to say it was one of our favourite Bao’s of the evening. A surprising highlight you could say, the mushroom carried such a meaty texture!
It is way too often you see veggie options which have been given half the amount of thought as their meaty alternatives, but this wasn’t the case at Mr Bao’s.
Bao’s were coming thick and fast to the table – we didn’t know which once to grab first.
Next up their signature bao -appropriately titled ‘Mr Bao’ – Slow Braised Flock and Herd Pork, Pickles and a generous dusting of Peanut Powder.
One word – unreal.
They don’t scrimp on their filling either…fit to burst!
The beautifully crispy Bao Diddley – Pulled free range Chicken, Kimchi, Wasabi Mayo – texture was huge with this bao, biting through that soft bun before hitting the crunch of the fried chicken, decent.
Even the greens they served were seriously jazzed up – drizzled in the most incredible ponzu dressing we promised ourselves we would make it our life goal to try and recreate such a mayo at home…
We finished our bao journey with the slow-cooked lamb version, served with pickled red onion and mint sauce this had to be one of the most inventive baos we’d ever tasted…the surprise of finding such a traditional accompaniment as Mint Sauce mixed with Asian cooking was a real treat.
Sitting back (whilst secretly loosening our trouser top button) we felt a huge sense of accomplishment, we really felt like we’d tried all that Mr Bao had to offer that evening – we’d pushed ourselves and our waistlines, trying every bao bun we could get our hands on….but wait, what this?
There was a bao bun for pudding too?
Getting a Bao S’More to share – we experienced for the first time what a fried bao with melted chocolate and toasted marshmallows was like – it was incomparable!
So there you have it, Mr Bao. A restaurant I can safely say I would travel an hour across London to visit without a hint of a grumble – fantastic vibes at this rustic yet stylish eatery, friendly staff and food to blow your socks off, lets just say – Mr Bao we will be seeing you soon!
The Burp Blog’s Verdict: Five out of Five Forks (BOOM!)
Price: We ate as guests of the restaurant
The Burp’s Top Tip: Get a reservation, you’d be foolish not too!