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London’s Favourite Taiwanese Bun Slinger Is Now Open at Borough Market

Bao has secured its third restaurant site, bringing Soho’s queues south of the river

The original pork bao, at Bao’s Fitzrovia site Tomas Jivanda/for Eater London

Updated 09.05.19: The restaurant is now open.

Bao, the wildly popular Taiwanese bun purveyors from Soho and Fitzrovia, has opened its third restaurant on the edge of Borough market in the spring of next year. The new restaurant, which is backed by Gymkhana and Brigadiers owners, JKS Restaurants, will replace the permanently closed Feng Sushi at 13 Stoney Street.

The restaurant’s buns — still, for many, the hallmark — have been joined across the two existing restaurants by a string of much-loved London dishes, including the now iconic blood cake with cured egg yolk, and perhaps London’s low-key best dessert, the Horlicks ice cream bao. If nothing else, and if the Soho site’s cult popularity is anything to go by, Bao’s arrival in Borough may at last make getting into Padella, Trullo’s fast pasta sister site, a little easier.

A spokesperson for the restaurant said today that the Borough restaurant will differ from its sister restaurants, by “providing a straightforward fun, no frills experience and setting, whilst still drawing inspiration from the founders’ travels across Asia and the BAO brand DNA.”

“Bao Borough will offer a window into a new style of Asian dining, showcasing a spin on late night grill establishments found across Asia, often populated by commuters,” they said.

“When the founders first saw the BAO Borough space, they realised that the setting within the iconic and historic area of Borough, located next to the London Bridge railway arches, made it the perfect space to bring their idea to life.”

Co-founder, Shing Tat Chung said, “Whilst always serving signature BAO buns, each and every BAO restaurant focuses on offering unique interpretations of experiences inspired by Asian culture.”

The new 1,600 square foot site will offer new dishes; it won’t be an imprint of either the Soho or Fitzrovia branch. The grill will be the focus. The group also confirmed that the busy market location means there’ll be a grab-and-go service from the hatch at the front of the restaurant.

What’s more, there’ll be late night noodle dishes served from 9.30pm, available “with various accompaniments.” The team says it has authentically styled the interior “to reflect the look and feel of the Asian late-night grill restaurants in an interpretation for London.”

Another new significant addition, which aims to mirror establishments in Asia, is a “hidden element” beneath the dining room. It will house Bao’s first karaoke room, which is bookable for up to 12 guests; “party platters” can be purchased to eat while there. Prices start from £5 per person.

Bao’s Soho restaurant — its first bricks-and-mortar site — opened in April 2015, having amassed an ever-growing cult following at Netil Market in Hackney. Bao Fitzrovia opened in July 2016, and owners chef Erchen Chang and her husband, Shing Tat Chung, along with his sister, Wai Ting Chung, then opened Taiwanese restaurant and now teahouse Xu, in May 2017. Xu is also backed by JKS, which will count 14 individual restaurants in its portfolio when this third Bao opens.

Eater understands that property advisors Cedar Dean group advised the outgoing tenant. Agents there did not respond when asked to comment on the deal.

Karaoke and party plates are available up to 12 guests and fees will be charged per hour per person. Prices range from £5 per person between 12pm — 4pm and from £8 per person between 5pm — 11.30pm. Bookings must be made for a minimum of six people for two hours.