The team behind BAO, Erchen Chang and siblings Shing and Wai Ting Chung, are to open their second restaurant on Windmill Street, Fitzrovia on the 15th June. Following on from the success of the original BAO Bar in Hackney and the first permanent restaurant, BAO, which opened in April 2015, the new Fitzrovia location will feature a familiar yet greatly expanded menu of new dishes, plus a full drinks offering of cocktails, wine, and sake.
“We were overwhelmed by the success of BAO Soho, but the small space always meant we would be restricted in the amount of dishes we could offer,” says Wai Ting Chung.
“Taking on a new site allows us to cook a new exciting range of dishes and gives us the opportunity to design a different environment in which to experience BAO. We are extremely excited to feature more of a bar element to BAO too, with an emphasis on cocktails and wine.”
Using the same tick style ordering system as BAO Soho, the Fitzrovia menu will have all new Xiao Chi – small eats – including cured ribcap, pickles and fermented chilli bean dip; beef cheek and tendon sausage; oysters with green chilli pickle; and crispy bird’s feet with hot sauce. There will also be a brand new selection of sharing dishes, with many of them cooked on the kitchen’s charcoal grill. These will include quail stuffed with pig’s blood; crab, rice broth; ox heart with schezuan dressing; and cuttlefish squid, sausage with xo.
BAO Fitzrovia will champion rice as a key ingredient, sourcing it from Chi Shiang in Taiwan, which is famed for its premium crop and is known as the champagne of rice. This will be used in rice bowls such as beef shortrib with scallop and beef tea and baby garlic.
The signature bao will be handmade every day at the restaurant and will retain old favourites such as the classic, lamb, and fried chicken bao, with a couple of new additions such as gold coin chicken (pork belly, chicken liver pate, and chicken skin) and spring onion, liver parfait and roe. To accompany, sides will include iced kai lan (chinese vegetable with a nori dipping sauce and flavoured ice) and shredded cabbage with granita dressing.
A greatly expanded drinks menu will feature six original cocktail creations such as Koxinga (yuzu, lemon, gin); Headhunter (whisky, vermouth, benedictine, kummel, black pepper); and Izu Dancer (sake, umeshu, almond milk, rose water, orange peel). There will also be classics such as Negronis and Whisky Sours, as well as a list of sakes, whiskies and wines including a Pet Nat poured by the glass. Also new to the drinks menu will be a range of milkshakes with flavours such as papaya; almond; toasted rice; banana and condensed milk.
Occupying a corner site on Windmill Street with large glass windows, the interiors have been designed by Shing Tat Chung, working with Katy Manolescue’s Article Studio. The ground floor will be white, modern, and minimal in its design and will feature a U-shaped wooden dining bar with space for 26.
The basement level will have a very different feel, with space for a further 19, and stools at the open kitchen’s counter and metallic walls that make the dining room almost an extension of the kitchen. Plates and pottery will be handmade by the same designer as BAO Soho but Fitzrovia will feature new custom patterns and designs made exclusively for BAO.