Brunch at Mr Bao, Peckham Rye | restaurant review.
Yesterday was one of those perfect sunny London days when everyone seems to be in a good mood and you've finally nailed your sunny-but-with-a-cold-breeze weather outfit, and the only thing ruining it is that your feet are far too hot in your ubiquitous white trainers. There's nothing better than brunch on a sunny day, or any day at all really, so I hopped over to Peckham to rescue my friend Kat from a day of painting walls and try out the Taiwanese-style brunch at Mr Bao.
Now I was very excited by the concept of two of my favourite things fused together (bao and breakfast food at a reasonable time), but also wary. I've been burned before by these food mashups (see; Cronut). This could be terrible or amazing.
Luckily, this is a story with a happy ending. The restaurant itself is relatively small, with proper tables and bar seats by the window, plus some outdoor seating now although in order to sit in the sun, you'll have to be here after about 1pm. Aside from their normal lunch & dinner menu, they've now started to do a bottomless brunch menu, where alongside your food you can have either a cocktail or an hour (!) of bottomless refills.
I drove over so sadly couldn't take advantage, but this seems to be an amazing deal, and certainly a bit of a change from the usual all-you-can-drink-prosecco that could cause people maybe overindulge and drink as much as they can in 90 minutes and then go and pack for a holiday, and then end up with a hangover in the afternoon and a suitcase filled with bottles of skincare but no shoes. It's a little dangerous.
With drinks like a plum wine negroni and a 'Bloody Hell Mary', you will at least feel a little classier, although the end result may be the same. The brunch menu is relatively short, with only four dishes, but you have the option of choosing from the main menu too.
We went for the oyster & portobello mushrooms on toasted bao with wasabi crème fraîche, which was an absolute steal at £5, and the benedict bao with completely unnecessary smoked Flock + Herd bacon, as well as a side plate of pork dumplings because, well, dumplings. The mushroom dish was my favourite, but that wasabi packed quite a punch, so be warned. The benedict bao was also amazing, with some rather heavily spiced slow-cooked pork and a perfect fried egg on top of a pillowy bao bun. The bacon is an optional extra, and we were being maybe a little bit too greedy with this.
We finished our brunch and after a little bit of time flagging down a server so we could pay, headed on to Peckham Rye Common with an amazing coffee from Old Spike Roastery over the road. And then I bought some sandals, because my god my feet were hot. Spring is here.
A brunch dish each, plate of dumplings and two coffees came to £24 including service. Bargain.