The Pond, 49 Gloucester Road, Brighton BN1 4AQ01273 660 277 | Website
Adrian Geddes, the quietly spoken mastermind at Baby Bao’s epicenter, is a hard man to pin down. Like many driven entrepreneurs, he never seems to stop! Having literally watched Baby Bao’s journey from our office window in Tower Point (which overlooks the Friday Street Diner market in Brighthelm Gardens where they began), getting the low down on this zeitgeist-capturing venture was a top priority for us. We persisted and are very glad we did.
Given the evocative flavours we love in Baby Bao’s food, we were surprised to discover that Adrian hasn’t been to Taiwan, which is the birthplace of bao buns. Given the remit of this guide, we’ll admit that did stop us in our tracks for a moment! Once we’d regathered our composure, we discovered that Adrian’s approach is all about taking the seeds of inspiration, wherever they fall, and fully making each dish his own without being afraid to do things differently. Having cut his teeth in a handful of Australian kitchens, and more recently closer to home at Plateau, he brings a wide perspective on dining trends straight to his cooking.
The Classic Pork bao is stuffed with unctuous, salty-sweet, hoisin-smothered meat, crunchy peanuts and fresh spring onion and cucumber, and the version with a hearty slice of fried tofu in place of the pork is absolutely ‘the business’ for vegans. When you bring in sides such as spicy salmon tartar, confit duck fries, tempura cauliflower and kimchi slaw, suddenly A LOT of boxes are being ticked.
The queues and packed tables, especially during those Friday lunch-hour and weekend peaks, show just how in demand Baby Bao is. It’s easy to understand why. This is the kind of food you reward yourself with after a tough week, when time is of the essence and you need ultimate comfort eating, big flavours and good value. Add a pint of the Pond’s varied selection of draught craft beers, and you’ve got a match made in heaven.
Baby Bao, we salute you!
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