Take A Bao

LEICESTER BAO: We’re all able to get out a bit more now. Unless you’re shielding. And not in groups of more than 6. Of course not in your own garden. Obviously not in your own garden, where there is just you.

And so we are coming up against numerous table ordering apps. So far, so lame in my opinion. They are all slow and cumbersome in my experience so far. Fingers crossed someone good at app development, rather than just someone who spotted a gap in the market gets on it soon. Needs must though, innit.

Anyway, one venue using such technology is The Tree. They are currently cashless and give you no option but to use the app. They have also replaced their menu with a special bao menu which is what enticed me in. These are the little Asian steamed buns, filled with a variety of deliciousness. I first had them in San Francisco about 7 years ago and was really pleased when they started making their way onto menus here in the UK.

Little Bao Peep

This limited menu makes it easy to chose what you want! We went for the Korean sticky beef bao and also the honey, soy and ginger pork. Both classic combinations for these steamed delights. They were both really good too – absolutely full of flavour and relatively well filled. I think for £7.50 I would have preferred 3 per serving as they aren’t the biggest, but currently the Tree is still doing a discount of 50% on food for Mondays and Tuesdays throughout September so at that price I certainly wouldn’t complain. We visited before that promotion kicked in unfortunately!

Over The Wedge

Along with the bao, if you fancy a side there is a pickled Asian slaw option. And also potato wedges which are massively incongruous with the rest of the menu. We were pretty hungry so we thought we’d need them as well (and we were right). Not only were these the odd one out on the menu, they were the most disappointing element of the meal too. You had to pay £1 extra for a tiny pot of mayonnaise with them. A squirt of 65p bottled mayo doesn’t seem too much to ask for on a small portion for £3.50.

They were a bizarre, anaemic semi-mush of grease soaked, slightly broken up wedges. There was the odd crispy bit when you tasted them, but they really weren’t great at all, and definitely no value for £4.50 with the mayonnaise. I think I will totally steer clear in the future. It can only be assumes that ours was the first order of the day. Maybe the oil wasn’t hot enough and the wedges weren’t fried for long enough.

I’ve just looked again at the menu and apparently the wedges are baked. So I’m certainly none the wiser on that one. 😬

Everything comes in recycleable containers so it can all be thrown away. I see the hygiene element, but it seems a bit wasteful. I’d rather just have a plate that is then put in the dishwasher? After all, the cutlery is metal, so if that’s safe to use, then a plate would be too? Maybe it’s just me.

I don’t know if this menu is replacing the old one pot one, so I guess watch this space. Definitely an enjoyable snack with drinks although perhaps don’t plan to make a meal of it if you’re hungry.

The Tree didn’t know I would write up my visit and we paid for our meal in full.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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