The bao craze is only just beginning, with more Taiwanese eateries opening up all over the world, particularly in London. I have been lucky enough to try a few of the best bao buns around the world and was excited to be invited recently to try the newest offering at Peckham establishment Mr Bao.
Founders Frank Yeung and Nick Birkett have transformed an old shop on Rye Lane, creating a buzzy restaurant for locals to enjoy fresh and flavoursome Taiwanese cuisine. The menu features a range of bao varieties and Taiwanese snacks as well as traditional teas and quirky cocktails. Where possible produce is bought in from local suppliers, though some specialist ingredients come all the way from Taipei. I was particularly pleased to notice Peckham’s finest Flock + Herd meat featuring on the menu.
I tried a selection of dishes from the menu. My favourites included the classic ‘Mr Bao’, a sweet and indulgent bap filled with slow braised pork, pickles, peanut powder and coriander, and the ‘Bao Diddley’ filled with fried chicken, brined for 24 hours, wasabi mayo, kimchi and coriander, a spicy but tasty option. From the sharing snack list I loved the fresh Tenderstem broccoli with ponzu and the intriguing ‘Smacked cucumber’, lightly pickled to give a subtle and refreshing vegetarian dish.
The cocktails were a tad disappointing, with no garnishes or flourishes they tasted like spirits simply mixed with fruit juice. Instead opt for a ‘Jin Xuan’ tea, which has a light but mellow taste and complements the bold food perfectly. For dessert the ‘Bao S’More’ is the only option, but no one is complaining, a naughty mess of melted marshmallow, dark chocolate and fried bao. At weekends Mr Bao offers a popular brunch menu that includes their decadent bacon bao with maple syrup, which already has a cult following.
I couldn’t be happier to have this bao business on my doorstep… I am sure I will be popping in regularly to satisfy my bao cravings in this new neighbourhood venue.
More information about Mr Bao here.
Brick Brewery was founded in December 2013. The dynamic team brew a range of craft beers in the heart of Peckham Rye. As a microbrewery they produce just 5 brewers barrels or 1,000L of beer per brew. The artisan beers can be found in many Southeast London outlets, including pubs, bars, restaurants, butchers and delis. This exclusive beer can also be sampled at the home of the brewery beneath the station in Peckham, where there is a welcoming outdoor seating area.
It was local Peckham Rye resident Ian Stewart who founded the brewery in 2013 taking inspiration from around the world to create a wide variety of beer styles he now brings to the London scene.
The brewery tap room in Peckham is open Friday evening from 5pm to 9pm and again on Saturday 12 noon to 9pm where you can enjoy the core range of cask, keg or bottled beers but also small run exclusives available only at the tap room. I enjoyed a lazy Saturday evening here last week with a group of friends and enjoyed the refreshing and tasty beers on offer.
Find out more about the Brick Brewery beers here.
Peckham is a fertile temporary home for pop-up ventures, with plenty of disused buildings to transform and a crowd of eager locals willing to try anything. And as the warm weather approaches, South London is beginning to boom again with markets, events and short-term food and drink offerings. Here are a few fleeting foodie fixtures I’ve discovered in my neighbourhood of Peckham recently.
Crust Conductor – the concept is simple… wood-fired pizza on a stationary double decker bus! The retro London Leyland Titan 1980s bus is found next door to Peckham Rye Station and is open for business all day Saturday and Friday nights. For the ultimate party you can hire the whole bus from Thursday-Sunday. Jonny Henfrey from popular Peckham pub The Gowlett uses a wood-fire oven within the vehicle to create cheesy delights. For a thirst-quenching drink buy a beer from Brick Brewery just outside the bus, the perfect pizza accompaniment. Pizzas start at £6, I loved the Spanish Archer with chorizo, chargrilled peppers and garlic (£8).
Burger Bear – I’d heard of this elusive burger company from fellow foodies, but had never made it along to one of its obscure market spots. Now that it’s got a residency in The Old Nun’s Head pub, I was the first in line to try the juicy burgers. This friendly pub is hosting the Burger Bear team every Monday and Tuesday 6-10pm and Saturdays 12-10pm. The BB boys like to keep it local, all their meat is sourced from South London butchery Flock & Herd. I recommend the sloppy and indulgent ‘Grizzly Bear’, a cheeseburger topped with double oak smoked bacon and Burger Bears Bacon Jam, £10.
Forza Win – Forza Win aims to create “awesome Italian cuisine using seasonal British ingredients”. The company has been around for a few years, touring London using neglected but atmospheric spaces and serving up flavoursome seasonal food. Last month the team came back to their Peckham homeland with a new concept: Spring Chickens. For £35 a head you will get a five course feast, featuring the ‘100 day chicken’. Or for something cheap and casual, every Wednesday you can just turn up for a bowl of pasta and glass of wine for £10.
Frank’s – London’s most popular seasonal rooftop bar is reopening in May ready for another summer of fun. Trek up to the top of the multi-storey carpark, grab an Aperol Spritz from the bar and enjoy the hazy views of London’s skyline.
For more ideas of things to do in Peckham see my post here.