BUN HOUSE: 22-24 GREEK ST, SOHO, LONDON, W1D 4DZ
I finally managed to check out Bun House with VA and I am so glad we did! It’s literally 1 minute down the road from my work but I’ve never had a chance to try it out with the exception of trying a few bites of a friend’s buns. I’m always dubious about new fancy Chinese places, you all saw my initial letdown with Xu, but the fact that there are always Chinese customers seemed promising and I am so relieved I was not actually let down by it lol!
So much like Bao, Bun House’s menu consists of just buns, but unlike Bao, they are not the Taiwanese gua bao but big Chinese style bao zi. There actually aren’t that many places to get these types of buns in London, I don’t think, and gone are the days where there used to be stalls dotted around Chinatown selling big ass buns for under £1, so I actually really appreciate the fact that such a place exists now.
The menu consists of 7 different types of baos with 2 dessert ones at £2.50 each as well as a variety of pickles at £2 and small dishes at £3.80 each. VA and I ordered all of the baos except the chocolate one, as well as the Daikon pickles, Seasonal Choys, Lotus Crisps and the House Fries & Mayo.
First thing arrived was the pickles, seeing as they’re just there in large jars ready to be served. The Daikon were a good mix of sweet and savoury with a good hint of soy flavour as well. I normally prefer the yellow style daikon pickles but these were really good too! My favourite were the Seasonal Choys though, which ended up being a winter melon pickle! Winter melon is one of my favourites, it’s the best bubble tea flavour, and the pickles were just as good! They were sweet and sour as well as really refreshing and light and I hope they’ll have it again next time I visit hahaha.
As for the small dishes, VA and I had to get Lotus Crisps again after we got hooked on them at Xu, although these were prepared differently. They were actually like proper crisps, like a pack of really good salty Kettle Chips, flavour wise and texture wise, but made out of lotus root instead. The ones at Xu had more flavour due to being covered in a sweet glaze and peanuts, but these were just so good, I really want bags of these as alternatives to ready salted crisps!!!
The House Fries & Mayo is actually a really deceptive name, they’re not fries as in fried potatoes but actually deep fried duck tongues. As soon as I saw that, I knew I had to get them because duck tongues are one of my favourite dishes, but I overheard another customer order them thinking they were chips haha. They came in a tempura style batter and were really light and crispy on the outside but nice and tender on the inside. One thing you have to watch out for though, is that there’s a bone in each tongue, they didn’t warn us about this but I knew from past experiences haha. I really loved them but towards the end, it got a bit too oily and sickly so I definitely recommend sharing them as opposed to having a whole one to yourself.
Anyway, onto the baos! What I really loved is that they are all decently sized and they all come stamped with Chinese characters on top so you can tell what is in each bun. The server told us we can match the symbols according to the menu description but I was like “LOL don’t need to, I’m Chinese m8 I can read that shit” only I could not even read all of them because I didn’t recognise the traditional characters hahaha. So handy tip if you don’t read Chinese!
We started off with the Veg Bun, containing 3 mushroom, water chestnut, kow choi. I found it nice but also somehow a bit lacking? It wasn’t the usual kind of vegetable baozi you get, which was great, but I think it lacked seasoning or something and I couldn’t really taste any of the individual ingredients at all. I was just really grateful that you could help yourself to chilli oil on the side tbh lol.
Next was the Fish Bun, with cod, prawn, chillis and basil. These were like a nice spicy fishball kind of filling, which I wasn’t expecting at all but I was very pleased with it! There was a very peppery flavour to it that I really appreciated.
The Pig Bun was not your typical char siu pork bun, I didn’t even realise they were supposed to be char siu bao because they didn’t actually taste like it, though in a good way. It contained pieces of bbq pork belly with yam, but it reminded me more of the kind of pork stew my mum used to make than a char siu BBQ pork. I really enjoyed it this one though, it was really hearty and warming, like a familiar taste – just not the taste of char siu lmao.
The Lamb Bun was a Northern Chinese style lamb, with lamb belly, toasted cumin, chilli and garlic. This was like the equivalent of Chinese Yang Rou Chuan inside a bun but the lamb was way more tender than the skewers you’d get at a street stall in China lol. I really loved this, especially the chilli and the cumin but the flavour was a bit one-dimensional to me and lacked salt I think?
My favourite bun of all though, was the Chicken Bun, made with grilled thigh, chicken liver paté and miso. This was SOOOO amazing and delicious omg!!!! The paté made the bun super rich and creamy and smooth. They really reinvented the regular chicken bun and improved it and it worked!! Definitely my favourite of the bunch.
The final bun was the sweet Custard Bun and hoooo boy was it amazing! Custard buns are one of my favourite dim sum staples and it’s always disappointing when they’re not runny, but Bun House actually have a sign saying they guarantee that your bun will be runny otherwise you can exchange it for a new one, free of charge. Despite this guarantee, the amount of runniness within the bun really shocked me and VA! We opened it and it just squirted right out – it was like liquid gold, it was so amazing hahaha. The flavour was really good too, but we let it get a bit cold due to how long it took for us to take pictures, so I guess I better go back to try it again!
You know what, I really didn’t know what to expect when coming here but even just writing this blog post I’m hungry again and I already want to go back. I am always dubious when Asian, especially Chinese, restaurants try to change classics, especially mixing it with typical Western ingredients. But I think Bun House did really well at changing the classics, not by pandering to Western audiences and ingredients, but with different Chinese dishes and making it work.
Our whole meal cost around £35 altogether including drinks, which was so cheap considering whenever we eat, it’s usually £35 each haha. It was definitely a substantial amount of food and we both left feeling very satisfied.
It’s more of a takeaway type place than a sit down restaurant, so don’t be expecting a proper sit down meal when you go, but there are still seats available and all the staff members were very lovely and helpful nonetheless. And now I’ve been, the only thing I’m left wondering is when tf can I go back again and what the downstairs Tea Room is like!