From the founder of the (pretty damn good) Sichuan restaurant Barshu, located just across the road, this latest venture is more of a hybrid: Cantonese dim sum, with cameos from big Sichuan and Hunanese flavours.
And what a hybrid. The restaurant is styled along teahouse-trad lines, peppered with some gentle kitsch. The dim sum are works of dumpling art — prawn dumplings cased in vivid pink and bright green, the dough coloured with natural flavourings such as beetroot juice and spinach. We predict in roughly one month’s time the restaurant’s going to be full of people doing it for the ‘gram, and flooding your feed with the xiaolongbao colour palette.
Luckily BaoziInn’s not short of other reasons to visit. The dumplings are as steamily perfect as they are pretty, with big bursts of flavour squashed into every delicate package.
But it’s not all about the dumplings.
Dan dan noodles are easy to get wrong, as some forlorn, claggy versions around Chinatown will testify. These ones are a slippery heap rich with minced pork and peppercorn kick, the sesame giving a nearly-nutty coarseness — an unassuming-looking dream dish. Like the peppercorn-infused Bloody Mary, the noodles deliver the sort of Sichuan heat you’d expect from a restaurant with a big Maoist quote adorning the wall: ‘If you don’t eat chillies, you won’t be a revolutionary.’
Not everything’s packing that much heat, and there’s plenty to choose from for people who just don’t care about becoming a revolutionary: prawn brioche buns are a surprising, moreish cross between prawn toast and bao; the passionfruit mayo they come with even more surprising and equally moreish.
Reasonable prices. Important dumplings. Revolutionary levels of chillies. We’re really into BaoziInn.
BaoziInn, 24 Romilly Street, W1D 5AH.
Last Updated 10 August 2018