Get buns on the run from new Teneriffe Japanese-fusion pop-up Bao Bar
If there’s one silver lining of the current pandemic crisis, it’s the fact that our hospitality scene at large has been incredibly innovative out of necessity. Not only are cafes, bars and restaurants changing the way they get food to their customers, but many are trialing unique menu concepts and fashioning entirely new product lines. On Wednesday May 13, the Only. Specialty Coffee crew and the brains behind Teneriffe Japanese restaurant Hikari will unveil a tasty pop-up concept called Bao Bar, which promises a brand-new menu of mouth-watering baos and sides available for takeaway and delivery.
The concept for Bao Bar was one that had been rattling around Only. Speciality Coffee’s Arthur Graczyk’s brain before the word coronavirus became a prominent addition to our vernacular. When stay-at-home orders were issued and Brisbane’s dining scene went into widespread lockdown, the idea took on a different life. The lockdown had halted the progress of Only. Specialty Coffee’s forthcoming Fortitude Valley flagship store, so Arthur found he had a bit of extra time to trial something new. After sitting down with Only. co-owner Paul Crossland and good pal Joon Shimamura – the chef behind izakaya Hikari on Florence Street in Teneriffe – Arthur brought up the idea of launching a pop-up concept based around light and fluffy bao buns filled with a fusion of Japanese and Korean ingredients. All three were eager to have a crack, bringing together their individual expertise (Arthur’s branding and marketing skills, Paul’s e-commerce nous and Joon’s kitchen mastery) to actualise the vision. Soon the plan was set – Bao Bar would operate out of Hikari’s kitchen, with a concise menu of baos and snacks (geared perfectly to suit the burgeoning trend towards takeaway and delivery service) complementing the restaurant’s established offering.
Bao Bar will softly launch this Wednesday May 13, debuting with a menu that includes six kinds of bao and five sides. Upon launch, folks will be able to devour bao duos stuffed with the likes of soy dashi-braised pork belly with ssamjung, kimchi and cos lettuce, crispy panko-coated chicken with sando sauce, beef rib with tare sauce, truffle mayo and cabbage salad, and soft-shell crab with avocado and Yum-Yum sauce. If you’d like a little something extra on the side, you can opt for lotus-root chips with truffle mayo, karaage chicken pieces, Asian noodle salad, katsu-chicken caesar salad or edamame and avocado dip with gyoza chips. Once Bao Bar has settled into a rhythm, the crew is eager to introduce weekly specials to the mix, and could potentially look to establish it as a stand-alone concept once our dining scene returns to normalcy.
Bao Bar will be operating from Tuesday to Saturday between 5:00–9:00 pm – takeaway orders can be placed in person or you can have Bao Bar delivered via Uber Eats and delivery newcomer The BLK PKG.
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