If the recent coronavirus-related lockdowns were good for anything, it was for innovation – especially in our hospitality scene. In May 2020 the team behind Teneriffe Japanese restaurant Hikari and Only. Specialty Coffee teamed up for a pop-up takeaway and delivery concept called Bao Bar – a venture that specialised in fluffy baos stuffed with an assortment of tasty ingredients. The pop-up was hugely successful, so much so that the crew decided to make Bao Bar a standalone thing. In September the team secured a 20-seater space on Edmondstone Street in South Brisbane (the former home of The Fifth Season Cafe) for Bao Bar to inhabit long term. The venue’s aesthetic is reminiscent of moody Japanese izakayas, with a distinct black-and-red palette giving the space a singular look and feel. The menu (which is available dine-in or via Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Door Dash) includes signatures like soy dashi-braised pork baos with ssamjang and kimchi, beef short rib baos with truffle kewpie mayo, crispy panko-chicken sando baos, and renkon chips with edamame and avocado dip. Bao Bar also boasts Asahi and Balter on tap, with cans already on offer for folks eager to blow the froth of an ice-cold post-feast beverage. That’s not all – cocktails (Japanese-inspired negronis, yuzu and vodka concoctions and Japanese gin and tonics) will soon be added to the menu too!