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The House Of Bao

It’s brave to create a whole menu around this sin­gle Chinese and Southeast Asian dish.

The House Of Bao
The House Of Bao

The Baohaus Co.
Colaba, 922-BAO-HAUS.
Tel: 022-22043446.
Meal for 2: Rs 1,000

It’s a sensible trend in a city that’s chronically short of space but long on enterprise. A number of tiny eateries have sprung up all over Mumbai, catering to the takeaway crowd. But unlike the 14-­­page­­-­long Snacks/Mughlai/Chineej menus of yore, they concentrate on a handful of specialties.

Like The BaoHaus Co in Colaba. Baos are big at the moment—and these soft, savoury buns are served in most swinging Mumbai restaurants. Still, it’s brave to create a whole menu around this sin­gle Chinese and Southeast Asian dish. This is what The Baohaus Co has attempted, and with great success. The classy menu—featuring a grand total of 17 dishes, including starters, dessert and dri­nks—revolves around the white bao. Of course, you can opt for starters like the chilled carrot soup with pickled beet and basil oil. Or the popular hick­ory smoked wings served with garlic yoghurt. Or even the Belgian pork belly burger. But the baos beckon tantalisingly. So that is what we choose. In exactly 40 minutes, our order arrives in stacks of neat cardboard boxes, des­igned to prevent mess and spillage. We start with the marvellous prawn crackers (Rs 180). The Belgian pork belly bao (Rs 300), generously stuffed with meat and dressed with pickled radish and a wonderful peanut sauce, is an instant hit. The coconut shrimp bao (Rs 270), flavoured with a tamarind glaze and kaffir lime salt, is crunchy and subtle. The buttermilk fried chicken bao (Rs 250), enlivened by a Vietnamese honey, sriracha glaze, is hoovered up by the hungry children.  While the goat bao (Rs 350), served with pickled pear and sriracha sauce, is declared too spicy by some. Vegetarians can opt for the subtle tofu mushroom bao (Rs 200), or even the chocolate bao (Rs 200) that is topped with marshmallow and hazelnut. Or you can do what we did, and sample the delicious, fizzy watermelon hibiscus soda (Rs 80). The perfect antidote for spice and heat. There’s just one quibble. The portions are small for the price. But otherwise, the Baohaus is a great addition to the small-eatery scene in the city.

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