Bao and Noodle (Auckland CBD, New Zealand)
Bao and Noodles, yes those are the two main items this restaurant offers, bao and noodles plus some dumplings, and it is very evident on the front window as there is someone who prepares this fresh continuously as people pass by and watch this showcase. I am sure this place was renamed recently because I remember I used to be Sunnytown and the offer the same thing.
I love restaurants like this, those who specialise in one or two things only, this means if they are making the same thing repeatedly, the quality you get from these places are way much different from a place that does it less frequent. It like comparing a sushi chef with 40 years of experience and some one who just started with their careers but is it the real case for this restaurant? Do they walk the talk? were here to find out.
First impression is good so far, the place was very clean and atmosphere is quite bright as well adding to the ambiance. Service was straightforward, order in front and place your wireless number tracker on your table and your order will be served as they are finished preparing them so do not expect them to come all at the same time. Condiment station was clean too, everything you need is in one handy location.
So what did we tried?
We grabbed several items, a couple of noodles and a dim sum. Was planning to grab some fried dough and pork buns as well but they were sold out during the time we visited the place.
First noodles was the Dandan Noodles (NZ$16.50), a noodle dish served with spicy sauce made typically with preserved vegetables, mustard stems, chili oil, Sichuan pepper, minced pork, and scallions. It looked good but when I tried it, I was expecting something spicier, hotter but it was not the case, it was tasty but it lacked the signature spiciness Dandan noodles is known for, probably this version was toned down of the Kiwi taste. It is also soupy unlike the traditional Dandan noodles, perhaps that one diluted the flavours I was expecting.
Next we also had Beef Noodles (NZ16.50), this one I am very picky when it comes to this noodles because I make a mean ass version. Anyways, like their Dandan Noodles this one looks good as well, again looks are deceiving as I was expecting a richer flavour, it was tasty but not to the expectation I was looking for. Beef was very tender and the noodles were nice as well.
So both noodle dishes are good but not as excellent as I imagined, it lacks in rich taste, where it excels are the noodle texture, it was firm and holds well even it was soaked in the sauce or broth for a good amount of time.
We also had this Pork and Prawn Shao Mai (NZ$14.50/6 pcs), now this one was amazing, unlike the noodle dishes where it looked good, this one did not look like any Shao Mai that I had before, they were large, the skin looked loose, it was also thick and overcooked but on your first bite, it was a huge surprise, it was meaty, shrimpy, juicy and very well seasoned, it was one of the best tasting Shao Mai we tried in Auckland. It was quite different, think of xiaolongbao crossed with Shao Mai, there was a soup inside it and I am not sure if this intentional but it really worked.
Overall, it was a hit and miss, not all dishes were phenomenal, noodles were just OK, at least nothing was bad. Service was good, place was clean, and not all the ones you see on the menu might be available on your visit like us. Price is OK for the noodles but the Shao Mai was quite expensive for what it is.
Bao & Noodle
Address: 10/14 Lorne Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand