Harden's survey result
“A first-choice Asian restaurant” – say fans of this “friendly, buzzy” chain serving “delicious” Taiwanese filled buns that can constitute “a quick bite for lunch, or a longer meal with friends”. Launched as a street-food stand in 2012 by Erchen Chang, her husband Shing Tat and his sister Wai Ting Chung, the group is now backed by the all-conquering JKS Restaurants and opened its sixth venue in Battersea Power Station in 2023. Top Tip – “beef with black pepper sauce and rice is a must-order at King’s Cross”.
“The best-ever bao buns: so light and fluffy with absolutely delicious fillings” again win raves for this five-strong chain, backed by JKS Restaurants (which plans a Battersea opening later in 2022). “Worth queuing for, although happily they now take bookings”. Top Menu Tips – “very good Taiwan-style spicy beef noodles”; “the warm bao with horlicks ice-cream is the most unusual!”
“The bao are just so good” at these “charming” and stylish Taiwanese cafés, whose eponymous steamed buns filled with “brilliant” and “magnificent” Asian flavours have been a sensation since their first opening at Netil Market in London Fields in 2013. There are now six venues, the most recent of which have branched out in new directions: Café Bao at King’s Cross, serving an East Asian take on Western classics, such as chicken XO Kiev and baked ham hock congee pie, and Bao Noodle Shop, on the former site of Andina in Shoreditch, which is inspired by old-school Taiwanese beef noodle shops.
“A hole-in-the-wall type place, but some of the best buns in London!” – these “hipsterish”, if “haphazard” Taiwanese cafés in Soho, Fitzrovia, and now also Borough, have made a big name for their “sensationally tasty” steamed buns and other “inventive, delicious plates”: superb “homely food at very reasonable prices”. The new SE1 branch, opened in Spring 2019, has a grab-and-go delivery hatch and a karaoke room upstairs; and both here and in Fitzrovia you can book – at Soho you run the gauntlet of a big queue and it’s more “rushed”.
For 33 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).
Have you eaten at Bao Soho?
Bao Soho Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Tasty food at reasonable prices. Service was good and the bustle of the place gives a really good feel. Next time I'll venture outside of the lunchtime set menu in search of a bit more variety and, most importantly, remember my reading glasses to boost my confidence in taking that step!"
Last orders: 10 pm