It seems as though Hong Kong can’t get enough of a good Asian fusion restaurant. Insert newcomer Bao Bei: a “made in Hong Kong” lounge with an emphasis on funky East meets West cocktails and fusion finger food. While I was originally worried that Bao Bei would fall in line with the dozens of other fusion restaurants, I was pleasantly surprised with the fun originality of the cocktails served (take the “Childhood Memory” cocktail, which is made with Vitasoy and comes in an actual Vitasoy bottle) and the satisfying simplicity of the food.
Hidden down a set of stairs off Wyndham Street is where you’ll stumble upon discreetly located Bao Bei. Calling themselves a “lounge and eatery”, their space is quite limited with only a handful of tables. Despite the relatively small size of the interior, the comfortable booth seating and spaced out tables give off a cozy vibe as opposed to a claustrophobic one. The minimalist Asian inspired art adds a funky, modern touch without going overboard, making this a cool place to go for after work drinks and nibbles, or for your final beverage (or two) of the night.
Using Hong Kong flavours with Western influences, Bao Bei has created a list of exciting and unique cocktails. It was love at first sight with Typhoon No. 10 (HK$158) – Tanqueray to.10, osmanthus honey, orange juice, lemon juice, egg white, and osmanthus jelly cake. There was a strong smokey taste to the drink, which some of us liked while others didn’t. Another fun surprise was the Mango Pomelo Sago (HK$128) with white rum, fresh mango, pomelo, mango juice, and sago. We absolutely loved how this drink came out looking like the traditional HK dessert; Chinese spoon and all. To finish up, we had to try Sweet Dreams (HK$138). Made with vodka, Godiva chocolate liqueur, chocolate milk, Ovaltine, and toasted marshmallow, this sweet treat had the perfect blend of ingredients and we loved the addition of whipped cream and the toasted marshmallow.
Though Bao Bei focuses on cocktails, it also offers light Asian fusion snacks to compliment the drinks. We first tried the Wagyu Beef “Baoger” (HK$88) with wagyu beef, Kabayaki black fungus, and onion aioli. Despite it tasting fine, it was missing something (perhaps a juicy ingredient, as the bao is quite dense). I was excited to try the Shrimp Roe Cigar (HK$138), since I’m a sucker for fun, cheesy dishes, so long as they’re presented well. Thankfully the shrimp was plentiful and paired perfectly with the Thai chili sauce. The Taiwanese Pork Belly Risotto (HK$128) seemed an odd fusion between Asian and Italian ingredients, – Kobe pork belly, mushroom, truffle sauce, risotto – but ultimately went together very well. The final savoury dish we tried were the Chicken Lollipops (HK$98) with Sichuan sauce. The chicken wings were tender, and had just the right amount of seasoning and sauce.
Since Bao Bei emphasizes a “Made in Hong Kong” mantra, we couldn’t leave without trying the Deep Fried Milk Pudding (HK$78). This simple dessert, made with milk pudding, blueberry, and passion fruit sauce, was a big hit among our table. The outside was fried to a perfect crisp while the milk pudding inside remained creamy and smooth.
Despite the influx of Asian fusion restaurants in Hong Kong, Bao Bei has done a good job focusing on Hong Kong traditions and ingredients in their cocktails, giving each drink a funky and unique taste and presentation. On the other hand, the food was a bit of a mixed bag; some dishes were executed well, while others were mediocre. Overall, if you’re looking for a fun place to grab a cocktail, Bao Bei will definitely do you right.
B1/F, 75-77 Wyndham Street
(852) 2801 7779