Oh my yum. Little Bao is a tiny restaurant on Staunton Street. It is potentially some of the yummiest food I have eaten so far in Hong Kong. I think to be honest I liked it so much because the food is all 'sharing' size. Now, this 'share size' thing, something I began to really appreciate in New York this summer. It's when everything on the menu is basically starter sized and that means you can order loads. I love this concept so much, because boy, I love eating.
Back to Little Bao. It's hard to describe, or is it? I guess it's like American come Far Eastern (broad I know, but the menu is a spectrum!) small plates of extreme flavours that make you wish you'd ordered more - which in my case wasn't really possible.
The restaurant, as I said, is tiny. There are no reservations, and knowing this, we went a little early on a Saturday night, around 7.15. We had to wait, for about 20 minutes. We sat down, and the staff were great with the menu. Everything, honestly, looked like I wanted to eat it twice over.
Here's what we ordered,
Pickled Mushroom Salad, Picked shimeji, shiitake & eringi mushrooms, arugula & tarragon, labneh, cumin-soy vinaigrette
I don't know if it was me, being Middle Eastern or what, but this was heavenly. I loved the combination of ingredients! Cumin, mushroom, labneh - all cold? Sounds so ew, but it was so wow. Quite vinegary, but I love a bit of acid.
Short-Rib Pan-Fried Dumpling, Slow-braised organic OBE beef short rib, celeriac coleslaw
The softest, juiciest, rich tasting shredded beef in a wonderfully squidgy, yet on one side crispy, dumpling. WOW, whatever, we said could have had 40.
LB Fries, Roasted tomato sambal, kewpie mayo, cilantro
Now, I wanted to order the truffle fries. I love truffle (am I turning into my Mom?) but we decided to order this, because my restaurant and money logic stated that if we ordered the cheaper fries, we could get another small plate, which meant we actually 'saved' money. I mean, I really don't know what I was thinking there. (Mom?) They were tasty. Caoated in a dressing before being served, meant they were almost sweet and sticky, a little like crispy shredded beef. Note - use chopsticks and NOT your fingers.
Orange Chicken, Fried running chicken, salty egg yolk honey glaze, orange zest
This sounded wonderful, but for me, it was my least favourite. It tasted a little too eggy and wasn't crispy enough to live up to its description on the menu. I didn't like it. I let my date eat the rest of the pieces.
Perhaps it's because I've never had one before. But honestly, these baos were amazing. Something about the softness of the bun, the richness of the filling and the general juiciness of them that makes me want to go back to this place.
Pork Belly, Slow-braised pork belly, leek & shiso red onion salad, sesame dressing, hoisin ketchup
Chicken (pictured), Fresh running chicken, black vinegar glaze, szechuan mayo, napa cabbage coleslaw
Salt Ice Cream w/ Caramel,
A desert bao. Deep fried boa bun, with ice cream filling and caramel sauce. Oh my God. I may have been a little swayed by the extreme look and knowledge that this was totally unhealthy, but it did taste good. Well, actually, it could have been better. The ice cream was crunchy and icy, you know when ice cream melts and freezes again? Yeah, like that, and at some point I even asked for more caramel sauce. My bad?
I have a friend coming soon to visit and she's going to absolutely love it. I can't wait to share this place with more people.