Hosting the perfect wine and cheese soiree in a swanky penthouse is a common practice among the elite residents of South Mumbai. While the wine is surely served at the hands of a sommelier, the menu for the evening can get a bit tricky if not catered by a five-star hotel. Catering to the elitist demands and offering a similar experience, though in takeaway boxes, is The Bao Haus Co. situated in the busy lanes of Colaba Causeway.
A paradise where some mouth-watering baos are created, they hosted me for a dinner, where Chef and Owner Siddharth Somaiya took me on a gastronomic journey, treating my palettes to some delicious Taiwanese soft dough. The idea of sitting in your comfort zone while binging on these delicacies intrigued us to the point of envying the lucky residents of Colaba, all thanks to the takeaway joint’s delivery service that's limited to South Mumbai.
Prawn Crackers at The Bao Haus Co.
Inspired by BaoHaus in New York, the young restaurateur Siddharth Somaiya’s passion for food can be sensed in his delicious takeaways. “My first Bao experience was at BaoHaus in New York where we tried the Pork Belly Bao and it was fantastic. The next bao I tried was in Hong Kong at a place called Little Bao. This set the foundation, inspiring me to explore my culinary dream and The Bao Haus Co. materialised” said Siddharth, as our food trail began with a delicious portion of in-house prawn crackers. Zesty and crackling, the homemade prawn crackers assured us that we were in safe hands and will be pampered to some unique cooking.
Chicken Wings & Leek Fritters at The Bao Haus Co.
Following the crackers, was a smoked version of the chicken wings cooked in a special smoker with hickory wood and served with garlic yogurt. Scrumptiously messy is the phrase that comes to the mind each time I bit into those flavoursome juicy wings that were smoked overnight for us. While this may entice meat lovers, vegetarians would be happy to know that this bao place has starters created for them too. My first ever experience with leek is now a cherished memory, all thanks to Siddharth and The Bao Haus Co. who served me the Leek Fritters plated with aubergine dip and pomegranate molasses. Soft, finger licking and delectable are words that best define my experience with the leek. For those not keen on leek can always try the chilled carrot soup with pickled beets and basil oil; however I still root for the veggie leek patty.
With such unique style of cooking and exotic dishes on the menu, my concerns went wandering to the refrigerators that stocked their ingredients. To which Siddharth said, “We believe freshness is the key and the best quality ingredients are very important for a phenomenal end result. We get truly spectacular quality pork belly from Belgium, our mutton is sourced from Rajasthan and we get our vegetables locally sourced on a daily basis. Our breads, sauces and accompaniments are made in-house like our baos, baguettes, sriracha sauce, peanut sauce, bacon jam, fries, etc.” Well, these words caressed my appetite for more as the next dish on the menu was the bao.
The Pork Burger at The Bao Haus Co.
I started off with ordering the Coconut Shrimp Bao topped with spicy mayo and kaffir lime salt, glazed with fresh tamarind sauce. What can I say about this dish – the shrimp is fresh and sweet as if just picked from an aquarium, the dough is soft and sweet, the sauces taste appetising, all of it infused with a hint of coconut, alas, nirvana! While this is our take on the shrimp bao, we totally recommend you try out the Belgian Pork Belly burger and bao which definitely steals the thunder of every other bao place in the city.
Tofu & Mushroom Bao at The Bao Haus Co.
The chicken baos are good and filled with flavours but what mind boggled us was the vegetarian option called the tofu & mushroom bao stuffed with Sichuan pepper and peanut sugar.
The Chocolate Bao at The Bao Haus Co.
The highlight of this dish is the tofu is made in-house. If you think you are already going to strike out a number of other take away options from your list, wait till you bite into the delicious chocolate bao. One of my favourite dishes on the menu – the chocolate bao is cocoa dough stuffed with caramelised bananas, homemade marshmallows and hazelnut. The idea of a food joint making their own marshmallows was enough reason for us to title this kitchen as the most recommended food destination for every gourmand in the city.
“We’ve kept our menu simple and comprehensive to ensure ease in ordering as we are a delivery-only joint. However, we will be introducing seasonal specials as well. Our most recent introduction for Halloween was the Carrot Bao with a Quinoa Patty, Arugula & Goat Cheese Salad served with beet chips.” Trained at three Michelin restaurants and backed by an experience of serving at weddings for about 4000 people, Siddharth is surely the go-to chef when it comes to authenticity and flavours.
While an individual bao is priced at INR 300, a meal for one person including the starter, dessert and two baos will easily sum up to INR 1000/-. “We often get to hear that we are priced on the higher side compared to our customers. What we would like them to understand is that baos are premium items and we make them in-house using the best quality ingredients. Our menu is not exorbitantly priced but it’s slightly higher than average as we offer only the most fresh and premium quality food,” explains the chef. Well, Siddharth has stated it rightly; these baos are not meant for quick binging as they offer an experience that you would get only in a South Asian country. So, instead of brooding over the cost, gourmands just need to tantalise their palette with something as acclaimed and loved internationally.
Sure of bao-ing away for the next few months, we would definitely want Siddharth to open a restaurant soon, so that residents of the suburbs also get a chance to explore these Taiwanese burgers.
To make your bookings or place an order for a takeaway, please contact 922-BAO-HAUS / 22043446 between 12pm-3pm and 5pm-11pm.
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