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FOOD & DRINK

Belly Bao Has Opened a Permanent Newtown Home of All Things Bao

Both the bao and bao burgers have made the trip from the Goodgod kitchen to King Street, along with a few new creations.
By Jasmine Crittenden
September 13, 2017
  shares

Belly Bao Has Opened a Permanent Newtown Home of All Things Bao

Both the bao and bao burgers have made the trip from the Goodgod kitchen to King Street, along with a few new creations.
By Jasmine Crittenden
September 13, 2017
  shares

After several years fuelling revellers at Goodgod (and then the Hudson Ballroom), the Belly Bao folks have set up their own digs. Officially opening in Newtown this Wednesday, September 13, the eatery will be bringing you the baos and baogers you know and love, as well as some tasty new creations, including bao noodles. And, yes, the Gaytime bao is back, but this time, it's out of the closet as a permanent, public menu item.

Belly Bao's head chef Sylvia Tran and her partner Kieren are super excited. That said, it took a year or so to find the right location — the 50-seater space at 184 King Street only came up when N2 Extreme Gelato vacated the premises. "We've wanted our own shop for a while and we thought Newtown would be the perfect place," says Sylvia. "It's open and fun — it's really what we're about."

With a bigger kitchen up her sleeve, Sylvia has expanded the menu. Whereas, at Goodgod/Hudson Ballroom, there was just one baoger offered each night, four options are now available all the time: The Baoger (Angus beef patty, cheese, cos lettuce, onion, pickled radish, Baoger sauce), as well as one with eggplant, chicken and chopped cheese. A baoger, in case you're unfamiliar with it, is a Western hamburger, but served Asian-style, with bao as bread. As always, every piece of Belly Bao's dough is made from scratch, by hand.

On top of that, bao noodles are making a Sydney debut. "They're made with exactly the same recipe as bao, but rolled out, shaped into noodle form and boiled," says Sylvia. "We're serving them with house-made satay chill oil and either braised pork or, for vegans, sautéed shiitake mushrooms, topped with coriander, chives and spring onion."

And that won't be the only dish catering to Newtown's growing vegan crowd. There's also a five-spice king mushroom bao with onion-soy jam, tofu goreng with satay, pickled cucumber and garlic and, for dessert, pandan baonuts with whipped pandan coconut cream.

When Belly Bao's liquor license arrives in a month or two, you'll be matching your eats with Asian beverages that aren't common in Sydney. These include beers and mixes, such as Hennessy Cognac with green tea, which is a staple in karaoke joints. There'll also be a handpicked selection of Aussie craft beers and wines.

Sylvia and Kieren designed the eatery's interior with the help of Kieren's sister, Petta Chua, who, conveniently, works for Vogue. Think warm browns, oranges and greens. There's an L-shaped bar, a banquette for large gatherings and round tables for twos and threes, surrounded by old-school Chinese restaurant chairs, newly upholstered. Keep an eye out for the Mahjong table and the dreamy, tropical-inspired feature wall by local artist Simon Wheeldon.

Belly Bao is now open at 184 King Street, Newtown. It's open Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 11.30am till 10pm and Friday and Saturday, 11.30am till late. For more info, visit bellybao.com.

Published on September 13, 2017 by Jasmine Crittenden

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