Bao’s owners Erchen Chang and her husband, Shing Tat Chung, along with his sister, Wai Ting Chung opened the Fitzrovia location in 2016, having opened the original restaurant the previous year with backing from Gymkhana owners JKS Restaurants on Soho’s Lexington Street.
Fitzrovia quickly became the group’s most experimental restaurant, with the basement doubling as a test and development kitchen for the brand as it expanded — to Borough, King’s Cross, and most recently to Shoreditch. A stellar roster of chefs moved through Fitzrovia in comparatively short stints, including the then-hot Eryk Bautista who moved across from the Cornwall Project dining room in the upstairs of the Newman Arms in 2016, before Koya’s Junya Yamasaki, and later Anaïs Ca Dao van Manen.
More recently, the restaurant has been run by head chef Omar Davis. “It fills us with sadness to share the news that Fitz will be closing at the end of the year,” the group said. “We opened in 2016 and it’s been an incredible nearly seven years, but all good things must come to an end.”
“It feels like only yesterday we first visited the site, driven by the need to relocate our bakery from the deepest dungeons of a 3by2m BAO Soho basement. We were attached to Fitzrovia having spent our student years around there, studying down the road at The Slade, eating at Dinos, the YMCA or the illegal Korean basement restaurant around the corner,” the owners added.
“We often hear, BAO Fitz is ‘our favourite’ [...] but over the past two years, Fitzrovia has been a particularly challenging area.”
The group said it had “a couple of new and exciting opportunities” for 2023 which it would announce in due course.
Bao is left with its original street food stall in Hackney’s Netil Market, the Soho restaurant, as well as sites in Borough Market and King’s Cross. The group and JKS also did not reopen Taiwanese restaurant and teahouse Xu in London’s Chinatown after COVID-19 closed it in 2020.