I noticed a small litthe shop the other day when I was having brunch at Hardware Sociéte with Jenn. Saw the words 'HOT ASIAN BUNS!', and of course out of curiosity, I looked it up online and dragged Jason there a few nights later. And we liked it so much, we went back a week later.
It took me a while to blog about this place as I wasn't entirely happy with the photos I took. Our first trip was immediately after going to the gym and I was only equipped with R2 (the iPhone). Went back the second time with Denise (the 50d), but I still wasn't satisfied with the photos.. But seeing that Jason and I would probably be too busy to go back and have as many baos as we did the last time, and since i haven't been anywhere particularly interesting to blog about, I thought, what the heck. My readers need me. (Mei, I'm looking at you.)
119, Hardware Lane, Melbourne VIC
Mon - Fri: 11am - 8pm
Apparently there were older Chinese customers who went in, and ran out because of the range of baos available. It's not like they have insect flavoured baos, chill out. You just don't get your everyday char siu and custard baos. Their aim, I assume, is to bring us 'the world in a bun', as you might be able to tell by that gigantic map when you walk in.
You'll see what I mean.
Bacon cheeseburger bao
The second time Jason went back, he ordered this again so I'm guessing that he's pretty pleased with it. One thing though, while it did taste good, I honestly didn't think that it tasted like a bacon cheeseburger. More like a deconstructed beef burger, but no complaints there.
Mexican carnitas bao
You've got to taste this to believe that they actually brought a Mexican flavoured filling to a bao. It was kinda like watch a dog dance on it's hind legs. The filling isn't the wet kind (like the buffalo chicken bao) and it was pretty flavourful.
Buffalo chicken bao
My personal favourite among all the savoury baos. If you like a minorly spicy kick with a oozy cheesy filling, then try this one out. I'd say this one's gonna outlive their experimental menu, along with a few others. Apparently it's their most popular savoury bao, and for good reason.
Bacon and eggs bao.
(clearly, this was taken with R2..) I liked how it had eggy bits in the bao. You would actually feel that there's real, mashed up eggs in there. The flavour of the bacon didn't come through as much though, so it felt like I was eating an egg bao.
And yes, they have dessert baos!
My favourite bao among all their baos there. This is a definite must try. The cheesecake filling actually tastes like cheesecake! No yucky, heavy cheesy taste or texture. I'm pretty amazed at how good this one turned out, and I'm currently craving for one right now.
Vanilla slice bao.
I didn't take a picture of the exterior because it was just a plain, white surface. This bao was a little treat for me; I do like vanilla slice and this bao does the Australian classic justice. Would've been nicer if it had the icing sugar texture to it though, but then again, I don't think that would go well with the bao texture at all.
Chocolate mousse bao.
I'm pretty keen on getting this one again next time round. The filling had the texture and taste of a warm chocolate sorbet, not at all what you'd expect a heavy, rich chocolate mousse to be.
That made up for a slip up by one of the owners. We were told that there'd be butter chicken baos the following Friday (the main reason why we went back the second time) but there weren't any. They HAVE finalized the recipe for the butter chicken, but they haven't put it up to sell just yet. Oh well, gives Jason and I a solid excuse to go back. I really hope to catch their Nutella (say what?!) baos next time as well.
Yea, I'm sure you can tell that I love baos, whether they're traditional or not.
In terms of pricing, I can't really remember how much each individual bao costs, but they've got two set meals as far as i can remember:
3 steamed baos and a drink, $9
and 2 sang choi baos (lettuce cup baos) and 1 steamed bao and a drink, $10.
They've also got rice bowls, but we've yet to try those. The pricing's a bit more expensive relative to the size of the baos, I know, but these aren't your everyday baos I suppose. And the baos are surprisingly heavier than you'd expect, so $9 for a meal is pretty good by Melbournian standards.
And another thing, Secret Word Tuesdays!
Took this photo from their facebook page. Speaks for itself, doesn't it? And who doesn't like free stuff?!
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can't believe we're nearly halfway through october! ohgodwhy