Having had the chance to eat at Bao London (arguably the hip leaf bun pioneer), I was pretty amused to see Bao Makers open shop where the old Windowsill Pies once stood, somewhere along Horne Road. It was pretty empty for a Saturday evening, which hardly bodes well.
A valiant attempt was made at introducing innovative fillings for the baos, but none quite hit the spot, save for the salted egg shrimp mantou, which was nicely sandy, creamy and crunchy all at once, especially when stuffed between a deep fried bun. However, the bulgolgi and pulled pork fillings didn’t quite have the depth of flavour to make these as swoon-worthy as London’s; when eaten with the steamed buns, which lacked the typical hint of sweetness in the dough, the entire flavour profile was really quite flat. Neither did the fish and chips or slightly overcooked crabmeat pasta standout either, apart from the fries tasting really, really like McDonald’s.
I was rather disappointed, given the huge potential in a bao concept shop. But more effort has to be put into crafting a sufficiently soft, pillowy yet yeasty and sweet bun, and finding the right balance so as not to overwhelm the flavours of each component. I thought that some combinations were simply too haphazard, and ultimately a thinly-disguised effort to ride on the global success that are leaf buns, but falling quite short. I’m glad I tried it, though I doubt I’d return again.
78 Horne Road
Mon-Fri: 1200h-2200h; Sat/PH: 1100h-2200h; Sun: 1100h-1800h