Review of 'Baozi Inn'

Having just visited the The Art of the Brick: DC Super Heroes exhibit on the SouthBank on a Sunday afternoon we were looking for somewhere different to eat. We are so often in the area that finding something different and interesting is often very difficult. Yeah, there are lots of places on the Southbank itself but, TBH, we have pretty much tried them all or they are simply branches of chains we have also tried. So, we ended up on the other side of the river in Chinatown walking past the standard tourist “all you can eat” buffets and other not terribly exciting options when we came across this smaller place tucked away on the small pedestrian alley of Newport Court (the one leading to Charing Cross Road). We were looking for something simple without too much fuss and we found that here in Baozi Inn.

The cramped, basic, interior is typical of cafes in the area where space is at a premium. The minimum charge signs did not bode well for a welcoming visit and this proved to be correct with the service only marginally friendly and quite abrupt. For a restaurant where most mains are below £10 it is odd that there is a £12 minimum charge per person (and another minimum charge of £12 if you are using plastic) suggesting to me that they don't want to be a snack shop despite serving what most would consider this type of food. There are two rooms here and we were shown to the room on the left and seated at a small table crammed against a window looking into the alley. I am a big fan of Asian dumplings and steamed buns so I found the menu full of promising delights.

We wanted to try their signature dish which had to be the “House Special Baozi”. We tried two of the pork (a value at £2.80 each) versions. The ginormous steamed buns arrived at the table piping hot but disappointed with the relatively small amount of somewhat tasteless pork filling. The buns also come in vegetable (£2.50), pork with sweet potato (£4.20) and vegetable with sweet potato (£3.80) flavours.

House Special Pork Baozi

Next up I decided to try their dumplings, given that this is a “bao” restaurant serving all manner of buns, dumplings and noodles (never mind the fact I just love dumplings). I tried the “Traditional Dumping” with pork (£8.90). About 8 or 9 of these fairly large steamed dumplings came on a plate accompanied by a bottle of vinegar. The dumplings were again piping hot but, again, lacking a lot of flavour with an excess of wrapper. They left me feeling somewhat disappointed.

Classic Pork Dumpling

My companion decided to try the “Dan Dan Noodles” (£9.50) which were served with “preserved mustard greens, sesame sauce, chilli oil and marinated minced pork”. The rather small portion turned out to the be the most flavourful dish of our visit. The noodles, for me, were cooked perfectly being slightly al dente with the pork nicely spiced.

Dan Dan Noodles

Of course with a Chinese meal I always order tea so we had jasmine (£1.80 each). This came in a large mug of scalding water with a tea bag floating in it - After about 10 minutes it was possible to have a tentative sip without burning ourselves…It was alright but I would have preferred a pot with leaves.

So, generally, disappointing. Flavours were ordinary and bland with adequate but certainly not overly warm service. The price I found slightly expensive for the mains but really good for the buns. The total for the two of us was just under £28 with the bill not including a tip nor was any option given to include one when using the credit card machine (so cash tip it must be…). Probably best, if you visit, to stick with the rather good looking noodle dishes. For the area, it is not that bad and is hidden away from most of the crowds. Might be good for a quick snack though watch the minimum charge…

Rating:

Review Date: 2017-07-30


Cuisine: Chinese

Address: 26 Newport Ct, London WC2H 7JS ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Leicester Square

Location: London (England) - Soho

Map:

 

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Telephone: +44 (0) 207 287 6877

URL: http://baoziinn.com/