Hong Kong restaurant reviews

May Chow’s Little Bao goes big in Causeway Bay: disappointing sharing plates, great dessert baos and lamb tartare

  • The popular restaurant has opened in a large space in Causeway Bay
  • The food was a little hit and miss; the highlights were the sloppy Chan and chicken baos and the fried mushrooms
PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 January, 2019, 12:33pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 January, 2019, 12:54pm

At its original location on Staunton Street, Little Bao was famously difficult to get into. It’s a very small space, open for dinner only and doesn’t take bookings, which means you have to line up to eat. When chef/owner May Chow won Asia’s 50 best female chef in 2016, the demand for seats grew even greater.

The new branch of Little Bao, in Causeway Bay, couldn’t be more different. The space is much larger, has seats and tables (at the original you eat at counters), and is in a quiet spot on Fashion Walk.

The place was less than half full when we visited for a weekday lunch.

The lunch menu offers a sharing plate, bao, side dish and drink for HK$118 plus 10 per cent. It sounds like a good deal, but next time, we’ll order just à la carte because the small shares offered on that menu are more interesting than the ones served on the set. We ordered three sets to share between four of us, plus some dishes from the à la carte selection.

The LB caesar and Korean glass noodles (“shares” from the set) lacked the vivid flavours of the other dishes, and the fries and sesame okra sides were nothing special, either. Of the shares, the only one we liked was the cold fried chicken salad: small chunks of meat mixed with a creamy dressing and crisp pickled onions.

Of course, we were there for the baos. The pork belly version (HK$78 à la carte) wasn’t as fatty as we like, and the meat was slightly stringy. We liked the flavours, though, especially the distinctive taste of shiso.

The fish tempura bao (HK$78 à la carte) was disappointing because the dryness of the fish was not alleviated by the addictive pickled lemongrass fennel salad.

We loved the fried chicken bao (HK$78) with its moist meat, Chiangkiang black vinegar glaze and Sichuan peppercorn mayo.

The sloppy Chan bao (HK$78) was a delicious mess, impossible to eat neatly, with braised shiitake tempeh, truffle mayo and fried shallots.

From the small shares, fried mushrooms (HK$48) were fantastic. The succulent mushrooms were encased in a crisp, delicate batter, with just a hint of Sichuan peppercorn.

Lamb tartare (HK$138), served with fried bean curd sheets, was also excellent – roughly textured and well-flavoured.

The ice cream baos – small fried bun with a choice of green tea ice cream with condensed milk or salted ice cream with caramel sauce (HK$38 each) were as good as we remember from the original location.

Little Bao, Shop H1, 9 Kingston Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2555 0600. About HK$220 without drinks or the service charge.

While you’re in the area

Shanghai Yu Yuan in Causeway Bay: lion’s head with hairy crab worth the visit, other dishes less so

New restaurants in Hong Kong: classic Cantonese fare at John Anthony in Causeway Bay

New in Causeway Bay: go the whole hog at Mokumoku Yakiton, Japanese pork skewers restaurant