Chinatown’s Highly Anticipated “Bao Bei” Starts Taking Shape…
Saturday was Tannis Ling’s last day bartending at Chambar, which means things are going to be accelerating at the Chinatown construction site (163 Keefer St.) that will eventually become her first restaurant, Bao Bei (Mandarin for “darling”). Scout broke the news of its coming back on May 16th, the day after Ling took possession. Take a look at the photos below, keeping in mind that it’s still a shell and that the horrific burnt orange colour (what a friend calls “seven shades of Tuscan regret”) is from the old tenant, and is in the process of being primed over to eventually become a soft white.
Ling has hired a chef, the highly adaptable and well-pedigreed Joel Watanabe (formerly Bin 942, La Brasserie, Ottawa’s Kinki, Araxi), and the pair will be taking off to Taiwan in September to gather intel and inspiration for the traditional Shanghainese menu. As we reported back in May…
Her mother’s cooking is the main inspiration behind the food concept. Nothing is set in stone just yet but she says that we can expect “lots of noodles, dumplings, drunken chicken – stuff like that”. Though the menu will see some experimentation, she carefully points out that there’ll be “nothing crazy”, hastily adding that it won’t be fusion. “I’m going to try to keep it as authentic as possible”.
Staple dishes will include things like soupily addictive xiao long bao, crispy hoisin duck pancakes, and several noodle soups, among them a shredded pork number with pickled mustard greens, rice vermicelli noodles, and a broth scented with star anise. And then, of course, there will be Ling’s original cocktails. Those who are familiar with her work at Chambar are anxiously awaiting what she comes up with at Bao Bei. So are we.
Opening day? Probably not until November. Sniff.