Top Notch Chow At Mr Bao, Peckham
WHAT? An unassuming, roll-your-sleeves-up-and-dig-in Taiwanese bao joint peddling excellent cocktails and pillow-soft buns in delightful, dishevelled Peckham.
WHY? Go for the beef brisket bao, stay for small plates of spicy smacked cucumber, pork dumplings, golden kimchi and our personal fave ‘Bao Diddly’ – 24 hour marinated chicken, fried then doused in punchy wasabi mayo, house kimchi and coriander.
Cocktails at Mr Bao are no joke – super short and strong, you’ll feel merry after just one plum wine negroni, combining barrel-aged gin, Campari, Takkara plum wine and chocolate bitters – exactly what’s needed to wash away a stressful week (and start a banging weekend). Elsewhere on the menu you’ll find a lychee daiquiri – white rum, lychee liquor, lime and simple syrup coming together to form a sweet but sharp mix. Be sure to check the Specials board, too.
Dodging butcher’s offcuts and a few unmentionables on the dark walk from the station, we weren’t sure what to expect from this hallowed gem in Peckham’s unpolished crown. But spotting the crowded space through the large window it became obvious why Mr Bao is so popular – trendy, super-friendly and accommodating staff are all smiles as they whizz between tables armed with drool-worthy plates (and are more than helpful dealing with our plus one’s extreme nut allergy).
Reinforcing their authenticity with a short menu of Sake and Taiwanese tea (try the Four Seasons), we enjoyed the quirky ordering system (guests tick off what they’d like with a pencil). and sparse decor, warmed with fairy lights and good music.
ANYTHING ELSE? Bottomless brunch is available at weekends. Bao Benedict looks super interesting, stuffing slow-braised Flock + Herd pork, wilted spinach, free-range egg and hollandaise into a bao bun and if the cocktails are as killer as the ones we sampled, we’d be laughing all the way back to Central London (even if we did step in fish guts on the way home).
DETAILS: 293 Rye Lane, Peckham, SE15 4UA / 02076350325