Waterloo is currently undergoing an overhaul and the graffiti-covered Leake Street tunnels will be a vibrant part of the new redevelopment. Once complete the tunnels will contain a range of independent restaurants and bars. The first new opening sets the bar high, as Banh Bao Brothers whisks you off to Vietnam with it’s modern take on traditional food in an eclectic setting.
The tunnels graffiti theme continues into the mid-size venue, with artwork in the bathrooms, neon lighting and cute cartoon characters popping up across the restaurant.
Some may even join you for dinner!
Honouring the idea of customary banquet-style eating with sharing plates & menus consisting of modern Vietnamese food. It will certainly cure any hanger with some delicious food therapy!
Offering a tasting menu and a la carte options, I quickly decided on the tasting menu for two (so that we could try a wider range of dishes) and I was excited to try several dishes that I hadn’t experienced before! (Visiting Vietnam is on my list!) The first starter to come out was lotus root crisps; a perfectly moreish snack to have with one of their Vietnamese beers (one included with the tasting menu).
The highlight of the two ‘starters’ was definitely the Banh Bao. These are eaten at any time of the day, although typically served for breakfast in Vietnam. The ‘OG’ combines the classical ingredients of minced pork, chinese sausage & quails egg in a steamed fluffy bao. These are different to the standard Taiwainese open bao rising in popularity across London, but full of flavour and something I’d definitely recommend you order!
No Vietnamese dinner is complete without summer rolls and the pretty, light pork & prawn summer rolls along with a hoisin peanut sauce were a point of freshness in the menu.
These came out with a good sized bowl of Cánh Gà Chiên. The twice cooked sticky chicken wings were some of the best wings I have had in ages! Deliciously crispy and a perfect sticky glaze to lick off your fingers! I definitely could eat multiple orders of these!
Once we had devoured the chicken wings we were served the final three dishes. A grilled aubergine with a lovely spring onion & soy sauce glaze. A Vietnamese staple of Cá Kho Tộ, a braised caramelised fish dish. This version was a clay pot cooked salmon fillet marinated in a flavoursome, but delicate soy & coconut sauce.
Followed up by a pork and courgette broth which contained juicy pork & prawn meatballs and lots of courgette. Accompanied by rice portions to soak up the wonderful broth which had a great depth of flavours.
The tasting menu cost £65 for two people sharing and was sufficient food that we both left very satisfied. It includes 7 dishes and a glass of house wine or a Saigon special beer. A la carte is also available, although I loved the ability to share a range of their most popular dishes and really get a curated experience of flavours.
This is a fantastic start to the renovation of Waterloo, bringing some fantastic vibrancy to the food options in the area. It’s a great spot for all occasions and I can’t wait to visit again, next time I definitely need to try their impressively beautiful cocktails as well!
Website: Banh Bao Brothers (Reservations accepted!)
Nearest Tube: Waterloo
Date: May 2018