How to Queue for Bao Soho
If you want to avoid looking like a total idiot, look again up and down the street outside Bao before you enter. It’s a common mistake once you turn onto Lexington Street Soho, to only look at the shop entrance and, eyes fixated on the storefront, mistakenly think there is no queue. Admittedly, that was also our first reaction until we got a little bit closer and noticed the line of 30 people on the other side of the street. And right at the back of the queue, our friends waiting patiently.
But many people neglect to notice the queue altogether. Or perhaps they think that this being England, the line of people is just a bunch of English people queuing for fun. Whatever the reason, we watched more than a few try their luck. But this is England, where a queue is a queue. Even if you pull up right outside the door in a black Mercedes dressed like Kim K and Kanye, you will still be send to the back. Yes, that actually happened.
To be honest, the wait isn’t so bad. However, we got pretty excited once we made it to the front of the queue and took our seats. We sat along the counter, which was excellent for our friends’ young boy who got to sit on the countertop and meet peanut milk lady.
What to Order
The menu is simple enough. Order from six different fillings, Classic pork, Confit pork, Chicken, Lamb, and Something Vegetarian (sorry, I was there for the pork). They also have a few small dishes you can order on the side. We went for the aubergine and beef, both delicious.
Funny story. The aubergine comes with some wonton crisps, but none of us had noticed that on the menu, given how starving we were. And so, expecting two dishes, and of course since we were starving, we assumed that the crisps, which came in a second bowl beside our aubergine, was the beef… Our friend bit into the crisp and said: “mmm, very interesting beef!” To the dismay of the Asian couple next to us…
Back to the food. We ordered a few of each, minus the vegetarian option, whatever that was. The waitress suggested two bao each, but I would say go for at least three. I ate four.
All the bao are delicious, probably the best in London. My favourites are the lamb and confit pork. However, I wasn’t too thrilled about the miniature teacups, especially at £2.50 a pop. Although I hear it’s tradition in Taiwan to serve drinks in tiny cups and miniature pots. The trio from Bao have since opened a fantastic Taiwanese restaurant in London called XU. You can read my review of that here.