No this is not relief at the (very limited) relaxation of the rules so we can (in theory) go wild in the Country (have to be old to get this, but the lyrics are oddly food related – clearly on some hardcore flour when they wrote them) or is it “Shitfaced at the Sennedd“/“Bollocked down the Bay” these days?
Personally, I would rather be sedately sipping in a bloody restaurant or pub, but it seems even outdoors we are talking end of April (I take the fact that the Heathcock has a very nice outdoor space as proof of the existence of a benevolent higher being, albeit one who appears to have been sleeping on the job for the last 12 months +) and indoor not until the end of May.
No, this is rather the double wow of being able to have baos from London’s BAO without the need to be in London (wild indeed).
I reviewed the eat in place a while back and was very enamoured by their baos et al, so I was more that happy to find out that they had joined the heat/construct at home brigade.
An order was duly put in, which came promptly (ordered on a Monday delivered on the Wednesday) in a very swanky box.
All the goodies inside looked very enticing,
particularly the braised pork (I mean look at all that lovely fat – altogether now” Where there is fat there’s flavour“).
The instructions were comprehensive and, on the face of it, seemed pretty simple to follow (even for a simpleton like me).
First up were the baos and luckily I have a two-tier steamer so I managed to get all 6 in at once.
Nice touch here is that they supply the greaseproof paper for the buns to sit on whilst they streamed (very much needed, as I think they would otherwise have stuck to my metal steamer).
Whilst the buns were on, I set to work heating up and reducing the braised pork (to a slight sticky consistency)
and frying up the mustard greens with doubanjiang (a fermented chilli bean paste).
The smells, particularly from the braised pork (heady with spice), were intoxicating.
With this all done (required a bit of juggling to get the timings right), it was assembly time.
All very easy and I was rather proud of my efforts (possibly a bit heavy on the peanut crumb on one versus the other two and a bit haphazard with the coriander on another), with the middle one the pick of the bunch.
So asesthetics not bad, for someone as cackhanded as me, but how about the taste?
In two words, bloody fantastic!
The baos had a lovely light as a feather, soft pillowy, texture (at the time a wisdom tooth was making a break for freedom from gum lockdown so this was just the ticket in terms of the imperative of easy to chew stuff) and the pork was the absolute business. Fall apart tender (they had done all the hard work in terms of the slow braise), with bags of porkiness and rich spicing (could have eaten a trough of it). The mustard greens and doubanjiang added texture and heat and the coriander freshness. The peanut crumb add a further textural contrast, as well as operating as a pleasing addition to the flavour profile. It all left me wanting more than the 3 baos out of the 6 in the box (Mrs. SF and I shared).
As this was our dinner, we supplemented the baos with a Asian style slaw from the Hangfire cook book.
The crunchy freshness of this salad, with a touch of heat, worked very well as against the slightly sweet richness of the pork (less so as against my freedom seeking wisdom tooth).
On this front I decided to add a 200ml bottle of Baos “Weeping sake”(£12) to the order.
This had a nice white flower aroma to it and was quite delicate on the palate (it is only 13° on the booze front). Worked well with the baos, I thought.
If I was going for wine, I think I would choose a German riesling.
Ideal for this sort of food.
Of course (you know what’s coming), there is a sherry for every food and in this case it is an oloroso (bought from Mercado 44).
Would work a treat with the spicy porkiness on display here.
I really enjoyed the BAO DIY kit. Top quality ingredients and easy to follow instructions made for a very satifying end product.
Price wise you are talking £4 a bao – not cheap, but worth it I think (they have done all the hard work).
On top of that you have a £5 delivery charge, which is waived for orders over £70 (I think) so sharing with some mates or going large on the booze may make it more cost effective. You can also freeze both the baos and the braised pork.
Would I order again? Yes think so, especially with the beef short rib numbers now in kit form, but I really would prefer to have the option of being able to sit in one of their restaurant (rather than at home) stuffing my face.
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