What can you tell us about BAO Noodle Shop?
This is the latest opening from BAO, who have this time headed to Shoreditch. However, following the template set by Cafe BAO in King's Cross before it, this sees them adding a little twist to their standard BAO restaurant. Last time it was baked goods, this time it's all about noodles (but rest assured, there are bao buns too).
Where is it?
On Redchurch Street in Shoreditch, on the opposite corner from Brat/Smoking Goat (about a 5-minute walk from Shoreditch High Street overground). They've taken over what was Andina (who have since moved to Spitalfields) and the whole restaurant is almost unrecognisable from what was there before - with only the upstairs kitchen area in roughly the same place.
Where's the best place to sit?
There are a few very distinct options. As you head in the door, there's a counter section at the window (which would be very good for Shoreditch people watching). We also liked the stools and counter by the new tiled bar - so they're worth a look too.
However, head deeper into the restaurant (to where the Andina private room used to be) and there's a whole second section, still well lit with a skylight. If you're in a larger group, we think this area is perfect for you.
And there's karaoke here too?
There is. There's a downstairs karaoke bar complete with private bar space which looks great for the parties we're now allowed to hold.
Onto the food - what's new?
A fair bit, outside of the noodles themselves. With every restaurant, BAO adds something new but with both Cafe BAO and this restaurant, there's been a real shift to making lots of new dishes specific to a restaurant. The new openings are more like a cross between BAO and their (currently still closed) Xu restaurant, which feels like a good balance.
Here's a taste of the new menu:
It's also worth pointing out the crispy tripe with spring onion dip - in a review for The Standard, Jimi Famurewa was raving about those.
How about the noodles themselves?
Although vegan options are available (dan dan tofu and kelp soup noodle with aubergine), the two showcased noodle dishes are both beef-based, using 40-day aged beef from the great Philip Warren butchers. Here's what you can expect:
If you're wondering just what the best form is for slurping up your noodles, there's a very handy guide on the rear of the main menu - so make sure to turn that over. That tells you exactly how to make the most of the beef, as well as reminding you to drink the broth. Apparently picking the bowl up and drinking is Tainan style, but you can just as easily apply that to the Taipei option (speaking from experience).
And there are BAO buns too?
It wouldn't be a BAO restaurant without them. The classic bao bun is here, as well as fried chicken and daikon. We tried the two new bao buns...
What about drinks?
The cocktails are a strong part of any BAO menu - but you'd do well to check out the new BAO tea section too - the Hong Yu Almond Tea (£10) which comes with almond jelly bits was a real winner - and perfect for a hot day. There are two new cocktails, the sweet potato sour and this...
BAO seem unable to put a foot wrong at the moment. They've finally arrived in Shoreditch and while they could easily have opened a standard BAO restaurant, they've launched something new and made a proper success out ot it. The food is as good as you'd expect, the restaurant looks fantastic and those karaoke room will be put to very good use, we imagine. Another instant winner from them.
Hot Dinners ate as guests of BAO Noodle Shop. Prices are correct at the time of writing.
More about BAO Noodle Shop
Where is it? 1 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ
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