Given the mix of cultures that make up Hong Kong, these days it’s quite rare to see a menu that doesn’t take influences from other cuisines. Newly opened Bao Bei on Wyndham Street aims to pay homage to Hong Kong’s roots, in a fun, East-meets-West style that emphasises what our city is all about.
The basement space is absolutely stunning. As you enter, you’ll notice a wall covered in different sized bamboo steamers, whilst further into the restaurant area, colourful paintings provide a bright, fun backdrop to the elegant booth tables.
The food menu at Bao Bei is pleasantly concise, whilst the drinks menu, though not overwhelming, is larger than the food. Since I was proudly almost at the end of my “Dry January,” I passed on the cocktails, but was told the Typhoon no. 10 and Mango Pomelo Sago were both delicious.
We started with a plate of chicken lollipops. These wings were succulent and tender, smothered in a tangy Sichuan sauce, chopped peanuts and fresh coriander that gave them a satisfying texture.
The Taiwanese pork belly risotto was absolutely fantastic – the rice had the perfect bite to it, which paired magically with the tender, flavoursome Kobe pork belly, all tied together with a rich truffle sauce.
With a name like Bao Bei, you’ll be right to expect some baos on the menu. Since each of the three is quite sizeable, choose one and don’t even think about sharing it. I tried the Wagyu beef “baoger,” which was incredible. The beef patty was cooked to a perfect medium, sandwiched between a beautifully fluffy and light steamed bun with kabayaki black fungus and onion aioli. I initially thought to have a bite and offer it for the others to try, but soon realised this was too good to share.
The Mapo tofu fries were an interesting cross between the traditional Chinese minced pork and tofu dish and a Canadian poutine. I’m not convinced this dish actually works, as the chunks of tofu don’t gel too well with the other components and the chips get too soggy to hold the toppings.
I found the shrimp roe cigars slightly disappointing too. Although the presentation was very cute, the skin wasn’t quite crispy enough and the filling fairly nondescript. I enjoyed the shichimi, but thought they could have been a little more creative than simply serving it with generic sweet chilli sauce.
As a very last minute decision, we ordered the Korean bulgogi lettuce wrap, which was possibly our favourite dish of the night. The prime beef shortribs were beautifully tender, paired with crunchy kimchi and beansprouts in little romaine lettuce leaves that fused together to create a deliciously tangy, satisfying bite.
I wasn’t able to try the deep-fried milk pudding that was served for dessert, but still appreciated the adorable presentation. The little pipettes held passion fruit sauce, of which apparently there was not nearly enough.
Prices at Bao Bei aren’t crazy expensive, but once you’ve ordered a decent number of dishes, they’re likely to add up. Cocktails are all upwards of $100, with options like the Typhoon no. 10 at an eye-watering $158. Go during Happy Hour (5pm to 8pm) and roll the dice to enjoy some sweet discounts: roll a 1 to get 10% off, a 2 to get 20% off and so on. Sounds like a lot of fun!
B1/F, Carfield Commercial Building
77 Wyndham Street
Tel: +852 2801 7779