Bao, London

I think it’s pretty safe to say that dreaming of a white Christmas, is as close as us Londoners are going to get to having one.

A grey Christmas is probably more realistic.

It’s not even properly cold yet! Just drizzly and that limbo between needing a coat and getting too hot and flustered when you wear one. Very British indeed.

Though the shops are certainly giving it all they’ve got when it comes to sprucing up the place!

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If you’re lucky you can finish off the very last of your Christmas shopping, while nipping between doorways and hiding from rain clouds.

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Cosy jumper from these guys, who as I’ve said before – do some of the best winter warmers around! Especially if you’re not quite ready to blow the budget.

Skinny jeans // Ugg boots // Chanel bag (similar)

But whatever you do, if you find yourself in Soho, nip over to BAO.

You’ll have heard of it before, I’m sure.

A tiny little street food vendor who’s made it into bricks and mortar, and taken the city by storm.

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A little place on Lexington, they serve up fluffy, steamed milk buns, stuffed with all sorts of goodies, along side Taiwanese street food.

With strict opening hours (Mo-Sat 12-3, 5.30-10) the trick is to try and arrive just before they open and avoid the monumental queue. Things have calmed down a lot in the last couple of months, so I thought it was finally safe to share!

You wait just across the road and a smiley waitress will bring you the betting slip of a menu.

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Hedge your bets.

Have everything!

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The place fills up quickly and buzzes with an excited, hungry energy.

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No sooner does the restaurant fill up, than the queue outside doubles.

Suddenly there’s a line of businessmen, tourists, locals and Instagram addicts, tapping their toes and glaring at you through the glass.

We felt somewhat like goldfish in a doctor’s waiting room’s tank, and tried to suppress sniggers as we imagined the queue breaking into Hot Stuff.

Thankfully the food arrives thick and fast.

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Aubergine with wonton crisp.

Quite nice, nibbly, not the star of the show.

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Taiwanese fried chicken with fragrant hot sauce.

Really, really good.

Spicy, rich, cracking.

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The scallop is my pick of the menu.

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Cooked to perfection and swimming in the most delicious garlic, yellow bean sauce – which you’re encouraged to slurp from the shell.

Not that I needed much encouragement.

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Pigs trotter nuggets.

Excellent, even for the squeamish – you’ll love them.

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Cavolo nero.

Surprisingly special. Swimming in a salty sauce and really rather exceptionally good, for a side.

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The classic bao.

Slow braised pork belly, coriander, powdered peanuts.

Eye rollingly, moaningly, elbow in the ribs, “omg you have to try this” good.

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Confit pork bao.

Similarly good.

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The aged beef rump is good, though I’d probably give the beef soup a miss.

There’s nothing wrong with it by any means, it just doesn’t pack the same punch as the other options on offer.

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The fried chicken bao, is of course delicious, but you could get away with just ordering the chicken instead.

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The daikon (radish) bao is truly exceptional. Well worth an order!

But the real gem of the menu, in my opinion, is this beauty…

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The lamb shoulder bao, with a dollop of coriander sauce and chilli.

An unusual combo, but it’ll blow your socks off.

If you have just one dish, make it this.

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We polished off our goldfish tank feast with Horlicks ice cream and tiny pots of tea.

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We totally over ordered, stuffed ourselves silly and the total came to about £25 each.

Which isn’t bad for central London.

Find BAO at 53 Lexington St.

No bookings, very basic website here.

Take your phone, the place is an Instagrammer’s dream!

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