This post comes bearing good news for South Bombay residents (Sorry not sorry, but I absolutely refuse to bow down to societal norms and refer to our side of the sea link as “SoBo”)
The Bao Haus Co has officially set-up shop, offering home delivery and takeaway services (initially between Colaba and Chowpatty) for all things BAO.
Now friends, family and dear readers are familiar with my new-found and well-documented love for this Taiwanese street food staple – from my experience waiting in line at the Bao Stop in Soho, London (more on Bao London, here) to crossing the sea link in Bombay (some might say this constitutes an out-of-town trip in itself) to pay a visit to Fatty Bao (full story, here).
So it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that on the day of its launch, I found my way to the Bao Haus Co’s HQ in Colaba Market, appetite at the ready…
I clearly wasn’t the first or even among the first fifty people to have heard about the opening – the kitchen was bustling when I arrived, with the team led by Owner/ Chef Siddharth Somaiya working to efficiently meet the steadily increasing number of orders flowing in. They did so with meticulous care, packing the steaming food into insulated containers designed to prevent the baos from getting displaced during delivery. Stickers to distinguish between veg and non-veg, as well as the REALLY spicy stuff, add a quirky touch.
Although it doesn’t yet offer an option for eat-in, Bombay’s Bao Haus is inspired by its namesake in New York – a small restaurant in the East-Village that Chef Somaiya would often frequent whilst a student at a culinary school in the city.
Back home, his rendition of the humble bao is a creative affair owing to the eclectic approach that he brings to his six-bao strong menu, throwing in flavours in inventive combinations interlaced with his signature hot sauce and a smattering of very moreish toppings. A lot of Chef’s key ingredients from the bao itself (the buns come in a wheat version too, for a healthier option) to the tofu and hot sauces (Chef’s Sriracha), are made in-house. It shows in the quality of the fare.
Options range from “Belgian Pork Belly Burger” – loaded with caramelised onions and Sriracha-spiced cheddar for a melt-in-your-mouth effect – to the Buttermilk Fried Chicken, a sure-fire crowd-pleaser, this time coated with a honey-Sriracha glaze and sesame slaw.
As for me, I sampled the veggie Tofu and Mushroom bao – sweet, salty, spicy and savoury all at once, it was sublime. The sharp, fiery undertone of spiced mushrooms and sichuan pepper slung between the pillowy buns was balanced by the mild softness of the deep-fried tofu, while peanut sugar sprinkled on top added a sweet crunch.
I was also treated to a few of the Asian-inspired bites on the menu. I say “inspired” because Chef Siddharth marries traditional Asian spices and ingredients into broader international cuisine. Case in point, Nasi Goreng Arancini – the deep-fried rice balls hail from Sicily, where they’re traditionally stuffed with tomato and meat sauces and mozzarella. Here however, you’ll find an Indonesian-style sticky rice between the panko-crumbed deep-fried coating, which pairs remarkably well with the peanut sauce served on the side.
There’s also a lentil flatbread – Chef’s take on a tomato-less pizza is presented as a walnut-based purée of lentils and mushrooms on a crisp base, with a garlic yogurt on top that has an almost foam-like texture. My other fast favourites include the leek fritters served with a smoked aubergine dip that adds a distinctly earthy dimension.
Let’s come back to the baos though, because don’t you know daaalings:
Bao is the new black.
The proof is the in pudding as they say, or in this case in Bao Haus Co’s gorgeous chocolate bao, which frankly speaking is off the wall. The brûléed bananas, marshmallows and hazelnut crumbs pillowed between a fluffy chocolate bun make an irresistible match. I simply couldn’t put it down once I started.
So, here are all the deets you need to know for getting your hands on these exciting little numbers:
Delivery contact: 022-22043446/ 9222264287
Orders can also be placed on: FoodPanda, Scootsy & Zomato
Order Timings – 12 pm to 3 pm & 5 pm to 11 pm
Address – Shop No 10, Om Moreshwar Sadan, 27 Rajwadkar Street, Colaba, Mumbai- 400005
The temperature and freshness of the food is of paramount importance to Chef Siddharth, so until they can find another central kitchen, the Bao Haous Co is initially only offering deliveries from Colaba to Chowpatty.
I was a guest of the Bao Haus Co, but as always I hog full credit for my opinions.