Bao really are one of my favourite foods – delicious, stodgy, packed full of flavour… and they’re even better when eaten after a few beers which makes the Little Bao Boy residency at North Brewing Co Tap Room in Leeds the perfect partnership.
The tap room is fairly newly opened (it’s right in the centre on Sovereign Street) and it’s worth a visit even if you’re not eating. We went one Saturday lunchtime and it was fairly quiet but I assume when it really picks up is the evening. It’s light and airy with loads of seating; Little Bao Boy are right in the corner so you can grab a beer and then order a bao.
The menu is very succinct; there’s a choice of 4 bao, a few sides and a few specials so don’t go expecting endless choice. We decided to order a KFB Bao each (£4) and an East Meets West Bao (£4) along with sharing some Veg Gyoza and Mushroom Dumplings (I think they were about £3-4 each).
We tackled the dumplings first; the Veg Gyoza were filled with tasty chopped veg and doused in sweet chilli sauce – really very delicious. The Mushroom Dumplings had a more mixed review; I really liked the meaty tasting filling but P found the pastry too thick. Again they were dripping in sweet chilli sauce, and I’m a fan of anything that comes served like that.
The bao were the real stars though; the KFB was filled with buttermilk deep fried chicken thigh which was succulent and juicy, finished off with a good drizzle of sriracha mayo. The East Meets West bao was my favourite of the two though. Slow cooked pork shoulder marinated with perfectly balanced sweet and salty flavours, served with pickled cucumber to cut through the richness of the pork. Be warned though, there is no way to eat these elegantly, you have to get stuck in and embrace the inevitable bao filling that will end up all over your face.
Get yourself down North Brewing Co – you won’t spend a better day then trying all their beers and working your way through the baos.