It’s been a while since I last went to Baozi Inn, Soho, not since we’d moved away from London four years ago. I took advantage of a recent London citybreak to visit the London Bridge branch, just a couple of minutes walk from ever-popular Borough Market. Our hotel was just round the corner from the restaurant; just as well given how cold it was that December weekend!
Some of the Northern Chinese menu is familiar from previous visits, but it also offers lots of dishes I hadn’t tried before. Seated in a small corner upstairs, I ordered with eyes bigger than my belly! Spoiler alert: we didn’t finish it all but asked for leftovers to be packed and nothing went to waste!
Baozi Inn offer a great range of dim sum and I’m always keen to enjoy a range of their steamed dumplings. The Southern Prawn Dumplings (£5.90) were big, juicy and with great flavour.
A popular order is a basket of XLB with flavours including sweet corn, mixed seafood, pork or spicy pork. We ordered Pork Soup Xiao Long Bao (£15.90), a portion of six. Delicate pink wrappers contain a generous amount of soup and juicy, well flavoured pork – perfect both with and without the ginger and vinegar dipping sauce.
Perfect for those who can’t decide, we went for the Multicolour Traditional Dumplings (Jiaozi) Served With Chilli Oil (£10.90) which comes with a mix of vegetable, chicken and pork jiaozi. The pork filling is made with pork, Chinese leaves, ginger and spring onion; the vegetable dumplings contain carrots, fungus, cabbage and glass noodles; and the chicken ones are made of chicken, ginger and spring onion. Make sure you mix these up to coat them liberally in the delicious chilli oil.
There were three skewers in the portion of Chicken Skewer In Caramelized Sauce (£12.50) and they were tasty enough, with strong spicing, but we found the chicken a touch dry and the skewers didn’t have as much caramelised sweetness as I anticipated.
We were already pretty full by this stage but I’d already ordered a portion of Legendary Pock Mark Minced Pork “Mapo” Beancurd (£13.80), one of Dan Dan Noodles With Minced Pork (£12.50), and a side of Steamed Rice (£3.20).
The Mapo Beancurd was redolent with Sichuan peppercorns and chilli, and had a lovely savoury boost thanks to the Sichuan preserved mustard greens. I found this dish pretty fiery but addictively delicious.
In retrospect, the Dan Dan Noodles had too similar a flavour profile. The sesame sauce was quite strongly flavoured with chilli oil and Sichuan peppercorns, so whilst this dish was also very tasty, it wasn’t the best choice to contrast against the Mapo Beancurd.
It’s probably obvious from the photos that this was far too much food for two people, even two greedy ones, so we happily took home leftovers to enjoy the next day for lunch. With a lychee juice and a couple of Tiger beers, plus 12.5% service our bill came to £103.60 but if you don’t over-order as muchas I did, you can have a tasty and filling meal here for quite a lot less.
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