Lunch at Bao Kuwait

By | October 1, 2015

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Have you been to Bao?

I have, and then I have again and again, and somehow even though there is one savoury bao that I can have on the menu I keep craving that bao, the pillow softness texture you bite into before you are met with the crunchy fried exterior of the mushroom. Bao, which my auto correct keeps correcting to Boa, is one of Kuwait’s hottest eateries right now and it does deserve all the attention indeed.

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Located in the heart of Kuwait city, the building where Bao is located has plenty of parking besides it which, to me, makes the trips to Bao even more appealing. I don’t know about you, but every restaurant in Kuwait including the hip ones come with a lull-time where you are guaranteed a table. This wasn’t the case with Bao for every time I’ve been there, all during the off peak times of the dining rush hour time for the population of Kuwait, and I’ve had difficulty finding a table! The place is popular, I’ve yet to meet one person who didn’t enjoy the baos or didn’t go back for more, and I think its about time I tell you what a bao is now before I go on. I seem to be a bit rusty writing reviewing mo? My mind is scattered all over the place lately so you’ll have to excuse my ageing brain cells.

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See the washed-out sad looking white bun in the picture above, that’s a bao! A bao is a piece of bread, a steamed bun actually hailing from the Asian cuisine. True, it is not baked golden the way other buns are but frankly who needs golden when you can have a sandwich inside a cloud! I know some people require their bread to be crunchy, but for a dough-lover like myself a bao is a dream come true, a piece of dough so soft, so pillowy, its almost magical. It tastes exactly how I think a cloud would taste if I could bite into it. I have this obsession with clouds, I want to own one and have it in my living room but that can be some other time’s post.

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The first time I’ve tasted a bao was at brunch in St. Al-Makan, two open faced boa’s topped with scrambled eggs and sweet mushrooms. I swear I can taste those shrooms and eggs still. I’ve known of a bao in Soho, London but I’ve never been before, then in instagram I’ve noticed that Mariam Al-Jasser, the lady behind Maria Rustica’s bagels and fresh pasta maker from the days of Shakshoka Market was also behind the menu of Bao and I knew, just knew, that the food will be awesome! My hunch was right about the food, and the little nook of a place is also lovely!

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Lots of wooden chairs, a long darkish mirror above the diners, teensy tiles, and a French soundtrack playing. No wonder you cannot find a table, the place is hip yet still friendly and relaxed. You sit and enjoy the food and the atmosphere and you keep wanting to order stuff off the menu because frankly you do not want to leave.

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The menu isn’t that big, 3 salads, 3 appetisers, a few boa’s with only one that is vegetarian friendly, and two desserts. To some people -moi- one bao is quite enough even though I can easily have three but to other, especially men, three to four bao’s would do.  The salads are good and fresh, one of my favourites is the one with the pomeli fruit with pomegranates, and all the dishes come as fast as you can blink, a good thing if you are starving and cannot bear to wait.

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There are fries as well, sweet potato or normal potato, matchstick thing and crunchy!

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On my husband’s first visit he tried the brisket bao and he fell heads-over-heels in love with it and still raves about it till this day. On subsequent visits he tried other boas with different fillings but his first love is still the brisket bao so if you are a carnivore going for the first time he would recommend it for you to try.

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In my case I order the kinoko or kipoco bao, I don’t recall the name exactly but its the one with the fried mushrooms and Japanese spicy mayo. I order it without chilli for I cannot have any and the bao is just splendid. All the ingredients complement each other perfectly!

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There are fried onion strips which are a bit crispier than the outer flesh of the mushrooms so you have to levels of crunch that contrast nicely with the soft-bubbly texture of the bao. The mayo gives a nice subtle spicy kick to the bite as you chew and you end up craving the kikoko bao for days and days afterwards until you go back and meet with another of its siblings again. Look how soft it is <3

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For desserts the first time around we tried both desserts available on the menu, the first one is a crunchier version of the bao, stuffed with a solid block of ice cream, drizzled with caramel sauce, and topped with pieces of pretzels.

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The presentation of that sweet bao was mouthwatering, you wonder if you are able to share it with others on your table or simply grab it and run away with it, it looks that good! However, I somehow didn’t enjoy the crunchier version of the bao as much as I thought I would. Perhaps if I wasn’t in a hurry and had allowed the ice cream to melt a bit and seep into the bao, drenching it a bit, it would have tasted better. Let is melt a bit then try it.

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The second one I almost didn’t order, a bao with a fried banana smothered in chocolate if I am not mistaken but it isn’t something I’d normally go. Surprisingly, it was the winning dessert even though it didn’t look as good as the first dessert!

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Perhaps its because the bao was still soft and pillowy? Maybe its the chocolate? I don’t know but this bao we fought over, squeezing the life out of the banana and mashing it with the chocolate, mixing it with the soft dough and gobbling it up without blinking. It was that good, and it was gone in less than 60 seconds and I have to tell you, do not order it to share or you’ll be left with nothing to taste.

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So today is Thursday, and all I can think about is having lunch at Bao! I’m a woman-obsessed and I suspect that’s the case with everyone whose been to Bao and liked it. If you haven’t been already, then I’m telling you that Bao will be the perfect spot to celebrate Thursday’s lunch today and I hope you enjoy your dining experience there as much as I did every time I was there. If you’ve been already, what is your favourite bao?

Bao is located in Kuwait City, Sharq, Khalid Bin Waleed Street. For more information you can check their instagram account @Bao_KW or give them a call on +965-51470344.


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