Litte Bao | Hong Kong
I've been wanting to try Little Bao for a while and never got around it since I hate waiting in line. The desire to try a restaurant tends to wane over time and just as I was about to lose interest, I finally got the chance to go. I made sure to show up right when they open at 6pm and it turned out that I had nothing to worry about since there wasn't much of a line anymore. Even after we finished our meal at ~7pm, the restaurant was still only half full on a Friday night.
The restaurant was pretty small with a handful of counter seats facing the open kitchen and another row of seats facing the wall. The decor was cute and modern with tranquil colors mixed with some old mailboxes framed up on the walls. They started to pump out music which was great for ambiance but a bit loud for conversation.
The menu was simple which consisted of several dishes for sharing and 4 savory baos to choose from. Between the 2 of us, we got 2 savory baos, 1 dish for sharing and dessert as well.
Some hot sauce which tasted like sriracha was available on our counter, which went pretty well with the baos.
Pork Belly Bao ($78) - the bao was pretty tiny for the price. It was also difficult and messy to eat because the fillings tend to fall out when you take a bite. Besides that, the pork belly bao was pretty good though. The buns were very soft and fluffy with the underside toasted, which was a nice touch. It went very well with the pork belly which was nicely braised as it was soft and tender while the hoisin sauce and condiments enhanced the flavors perfectly.
Mac & Cheese ($108) - this was an interesting fushion dish using the mac & cheese concept but replaced with steamed rice rolls and mentaiko cheese sauce instead. The overall texture was pretty delightful - I loved the crunchy bread crumbs on top which contrasted nicely with the soft steamed rice rolls and cheese sauce on the bottom.
The steamed rice rolls were perfectly soft while the cheese sauce was slightly spicy. The flavor of the mentaiko wasn't very apparent though as the cheese probably overwhelmed it. I found the sauce to be a bit thick as well.
LB Ice Cream Sandwich ($48) - this was the dish I really wanted to try here ever since I saw pictures of it! The ice cream sandwich consisted of deep fried bao with green tea ice cream in the middle and condense milk. Unfortunately it was a let down. The texture of the deep-fried bao was too dry and hard now, which did not go well with the ice cream. The green tea ice cream was just alright as the matcha flavor wasn't strong enough. It was also very tiny - even smaller than the regular baos. For the price, I couldn't help but think that I could have gotten 2 Häagen-Dazs Green Tea Crispy Sandwich which actually taste better.
Verdict - the food here was actually pretty decent as they were able to take simple food and execute it well, but just slapped with a high price tag. It was overpriced for what it is as the portions were just way too small. I didn't feel full at all. I would gladly come again if the prices were slashed by like half or 30%. The service was good though even though they don't have service charge. Our water glasses were kept full throughout the night. I guess it is still worth it to try it once to decide for yourself if it is worth it or not. The good thing is there doesn't seem to be any more lines - well at least on a week night.
G/F, 66 Staunton Street, Central
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