25° & SUNNY ON MONDAY 27 MARCH IN SYDNEY
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An Asian fusion cafe doing breakfast bao, donburi and repeat visit-worthy fried chicken.

Bao Shop is North Sydney's newest Asian fusion restaurant doing breakfast as well as lunch. Inspired by Taiwanese, Chinese and Japanese cuisines, Bao Shop sets high standards for the largely corporate area with quality 'secret recipe' dishes spanning a diverse menu.

First up is the breakfast bao (yes, breakfast bao), of which options include ham and cheese and eggs Benedict. Come lunchtime, the bao fillings change to honey-braised pork belly, crunchy fried chicken and fried tofu (all $7 each or two for $12) — these are dense, generous and beautifully presented, and I found myself full and satisfied with just two. On Fridays they pull out the big guns, putting together premium buns with crispy skin Peking duck and marbled wagyu steak for the end of the week only. These ones come at a premium price at $12 each. 

But there's more than just bao on offer. Donburi rice bowl choices include a chef's special curry with braised pork or chicken (either fried or Hainanese-style) on your pick of the house garlic chicken rice or the alternative "super healthy" brown rice with accompanying broccolini, egg and other vegetables ($12-14). Like the bao, these bowls are enormous, and the thick Japanese-style curry is incredibly flavoursome.   

If you're just feeling peckish, skip the big stuff and go for the fried chicken, available in either six sizeable nuggs ($8) or tenders ($3.50 each). The coating is top-secret (although the menu lists one of the ingredients as beer) and ensures the chicken is crispy and super succulent; this alone has me planning another visit to Bao Shop. 

People on the hunt for a mid-afternoon sugar fix are also catered for with a creation called 'baonuts'. These are sweet fried braided baos, and are available in salted caramel, chocolate fudge or plain sugar ($3.50 each). All bao buns are made fresh in-house every day, and the choice of quality ingredients means they can often sell out — so get in early. With a 6.30am opening time, you can switch out toast and get a bao with your coffee.  

Published on February 23, 2017 by William Doyle

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