Bao Noodle Shop is the latest in the Taiwanese mini-chain’s empire that includes three ‘regular’ Bao restaurants and Cafe Bao in King’s Cross. They’ve taken over the old Andina site in Shoreditch, facing Smoking Goat and Brat, and have given the place a lovely spruce up – the stark white exterior gives way to lots of warm wood, yellow and red once you’re inside. On the ground floor there’s an open kitchen, bar, plenty of low-slung tables and a window counter, while in the basement there’s two karaoke rooms and another bar.
As you might guess from the name, it’s noodles that are the focus here rather than the steamed buns that made them famous, specifically the beef noodle shops of Taiwan. Despite this, there’s only actually two beef noodle soups on the menu, a rich Taipei-style with beef cheek, short rib and spiced beef butter, and a lighter Tainan-style beef soup with rare beef rump. We went for the former and it was a beaut – rich, silky and full of deep beefy flavour, and it would have been even better on a cold winter day instead of a sweltering London heatwave as it was for us. If you don’t eat beef there’s two options: dan dan tofu noodles, and kelp soup noodle with aubergine.
There’s plenty more on the menu too and we perhaps enjoyed the snacks the most of all. Smacked cucumber with eel; the braised cull yaw dumplings; the spinach with tofu sauce; and the fried Ogleshield cheese rolls are all absolute must-orders. And then to the trusty bao, here as good as ever, and with a particular shoutout to the prawn croquette bun which may just be our new favourite.
Drinks are a big focus at Bao Noodle Shop too and the cocktails were especially good. If you happen to be here on a hot day, a shaved ice strawberry daiquiri will sort you right out. There’s also sake, wine, tea, and Bao’s own-label beers to crack in to.
With a prominent position in Shoreditch and a crowd-pleasing menu of big hitters, Bao Noodle Shop is another surefire hit for the team.
1 Redchurch St, London E2 7DJ