Thursday, 9 August 2012

Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie

My friends and I've been trying to go L'battoir in Gastown for awhile and it seems like the universe is against this idea and we somehow failed twice.  Instead, we decided to go to Bao Bei in Chinatown which is about 10 minutes walk from central Gastown.  Luckily, we were able to get seats right away even though the place was packed with happy customers.  

I've  heard of Bao Bei long time ago and I never thought of the place to be like what I saw.  I guess I expected it to be a typical Chinese restaurant with spinning tables but when you walk in, you would have never guessed that Bao Bei serves Chinese food other than from its name. 

The interior design is modern yet vintage with a cozy feel to it.  It's full of dark woody colours and vintage wallpaper, photos and quite a big bar and a mini waiting area near the entrance.   As you can tell from reading my blog posts, the ambiance of the restaurant means a lot to me XD.  I think it makes the dining experience complete.

*I apologize for the mixture of photo qualities.  I had to use my iphone in between because my camera battery was running out.  

 cute plants at the entrance of the restaurant

 Interior. I think it will fit about 50 people.

 Vintage wall paper, photo 

 Chopsticks in the middle of the table.

 Bao Bei apparently means "precious" in Chinese.  I am not sure if it if Mandarin or Cantonese.  I am assuming it is mandarin?

The cocktails we ordered.

It seems like their cocktail menu changes frequently.  The one I ordered (the tiny glass at the front) was called Cheug po the kid I believe but it's not on the menu anymore. It had rum, lychee liquor and I can't remember the rest.... haha....sorry :(

In the back row from left to right, banana colada, Guizhou Donkey with  lemon grass infused shochu, almond syrup, lime and ginger beer and the one on the right is not on the menu anymore but I do remember that it had watermelon in it.  Their cocktails are unique with mixture of asian liquors.  One of the cocktails on the menu come with an egg in it... I am not quite sure about that one..eeek  The cost ranges from $9-12.

Shao Bing
Crunchy sesame flatbread with cumin lamb sirloin, pickled red onion, cilantro, green peppers and salted chillies $12

They didn't have lamb the night we were there so we got beef instead.  The pickled red onion was perfect with the dish with a little bit of a tang.  the combination was good with the cilantro, peppers and chillies and I really liked the crunchiness of the sesame flatbread. 

 I was never a big fan was cilantro before just because I was new to the taste and I grew up without eating it.  I forced myself to try it several times and I actually quite like it now so I didn't have to pick out the cilantro from this dish (hurray!).  I don't enjoy cilantro in soups though, because I find the taste to be way too overpowering.  

 Duck and mushroom Wontons in duck consumme with yellow chives $7

This was my favourite dish out of all.  It wasn't overwhelmingly spicy and the vinegar in the consumme really added a kick, making it really delicious.  The crunchy vegetables were refreshing and there was about 7-8 wontons for one order.


Steamed buns with port belly, bean sprouts, preserved turnip and sugared peanuts $9

This one was alright.  I think the bun was the king of this dish.  It was fluffy and I could've just ate the bun by itself with some sauce.  I don't quite remember tasting peanuts and overall it was an average dish.

Sautee of sunshoke, asian cucumber, chilli and garlic, pickled red onion, star anise tomato sauce $16

The pork was cooked well but the I was really disappointed at the sauce because it was so bland.  The vegetables and picked onion was superb but I don't think this dish was worth $16.  Olivia and Ben said that it tasted better last time they ordered it so maybe... they did something different to the sauce this time around.

Sticky rice cake
stir fried julienned pork, salted mustard greens, wood ear mushrooms and bamboo shoots $12

This dish just tasted like yakiudon with rice cake instead of udon noodles.   The portion was big but taste wise, it wasn't anything spectacular.

*random fact- In Korean cooking, we use rice cake a lot and the dish we eat during New Year's is a rice cake soup and we use the same rice cake as the one above.  

Overall, Bao Bei is a decent place to come with your friends for a little bite but the portion is small and it's pricy so I don't recommend coming here for dinner.  Also, it is super westernized Chinese cuisine so if you're expecting to eat authentic Chinese food, you should probably go to Richmond instead.  Other than that, it's a great place to try out once in a while because it is so different from everything else that's in Vancouver.

I am off to Korea in 12 days and Japan in 19 days!!!! I am going to try to blog often and do a travel diary.  I would love to do some film work but I don't know how to edit videos.. so we will see if I can make that happen. 

Thanks for reading,


Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie 寶貝小館 on Urbanspoon


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