The bao boom shows no sign of abating and Soho’s latest venture on Greek Street has raised the stakes. Specialising in Asian steamed buns, the Bun House has revolutionised Soho’s fast-food scene. Just the morning when my companion and I visited, Instagram hit “Clerkenwell boy” had been raving about their custard-filled buns. Whether for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a pickled afternoon/late-night snack, the Bun House is attracting the crowds and rightly so.
The Bun House comes from husband and wife Alex Peffly and Z. Whilst he hails from Ohio and has a background at culinary school, she is from Canton Province in China with a background in design school. Having travelled all over – Chicago, China and Paris – they’ve picked up inspiration along the way. Taking culinary inspiration from 60’s tea houses and the open-air street food stalls of Hong Kong, I even think their takeaway boxes are likely to become an accessory (of the foodie scene) in their own right, with that edgy chopstick handle showcasing on the (foodie) catwalk of Spring/Summer 2017.
Although often described as akin to hamburgers, for me the bao is a much more refined thing: steamed, delicately seasoned, and crucially, served closed, these buns are of the Cantonese kind, with the filling hidden. My vege buns, so reasonably priced at £2.50 each, were stuffed with mushroom and water chestnut and given a further kick of flavour with their delicious chilli oil which I liberally dipped each bite into. Though both my companion and I felt that the filling could have been a touch more generous, with an ever so slightly thinner encasing, I loved the texture of the buns and their potent flavour. Steamed to order, each bun had a pillowy texture, was well risen, and stuffed with the freshest ingredients.
Though the buns are the stars of the show, their small plates shouldn’t be missed. I went for a side of the Glass noodle salad (£3.50), served with a peanut and black rice vinegar dressing. Light, well-seasoned and refreshing, these nutty noodles and the tangy cucumbers complemented the chewy consistency of the buns very well.
Whilst the Bun House seem to focus their trade on fast takeaways – as is clear through their limited seating which only hosts around 10 covers – the Bun House shouldn’t just been seen as a quick stop-over for a lunch or pre-/post-theatre bite. For me, the Bun House is a destination in its own right. My companion agreed with me on this as we lamented not working nearing to Soho so we could luncheon right here.