We’ve had burgers and pizzas done to death here in Newcastle so it’s great to see something a bit different open its doors in Heaton. Bao Bar has been open for around a month now and we’ve never visited when its been quiet. Folks like us can’t get enough of their fluffy Chinese buns filled with a variety of different options, including their vegan miso baked Aubergine.
The premise of Bao Bar is simple enough. You are given a card to order your food and drink which is prepared in an open kitchen. The restaurant is what you’d call bijoux, with space for around 10-12 people seated. The small team consists of the owners Edward and Richard who were happy to chat as they set to work on our feast. Our issue when visiting Bao Bar is we end up ordering everything off the menu!
As well as a standard selection of Chicken, Pork and Aubergine (the vegan option), there’s a board featuring specials. When we’ve visited they’ve included Char Sui Pork, Tofu and Mushroom. With drinks we usually spend around the £30 mark for the 2 of us.
The bao buns are steamed to order and are pillowy soft. The contents – whether you are veggie or otherwise – is usually fried as they are covered in tempura or panko crumb. There is an issue with cross contamination here for those who are concerned about that due to the restricted nature of their kitchen.
The vegan-friendly aubergine was a delicate balance of salty and spice, with the addition of basil emulsion lifting the bun.
The concept for Bao Bar is simple enough, but the food tastes anything but. Gavin is particularly fond of the Pork, which is formed like a croquette, and the Chicken with its spicy Sriracha dressing. He finds it difficult not to have thirds while visiting.
The tofu special I ordered was served with mushroom ‘ketchup’ and dressed with pomegranate seeds. Each component of the dish worked well together and the tofu was cooked perfectly. Rather than bland and flaccid cubes, these were coated in tempura and retained ‘bite’.
All dishes are also available to take away, should you be lucky enough to live locally. We’d highly recommend a visit to this Pan-Asian restaurant in the heart of Chilli Road. These guys are ones to watch for the future. For info about opening times check out their Facebook page here.
Heard about Kimchi Planet? Check out our review here.