The new location of Bao Down opens tonight at 115 West 2nd (Friday, Jan. 8th). Located in a brand new, 2,300 sqft space at the foot of one of the many new condo developments on the periphery of Olympic Village, the 67 seater aims to continue the same inventive, irreverent Pacific Rim street food theme as before in Gastown, albeit with significant advancements.
I took a peek at the menu this afternoon with co-founder Matthew Adolfo, who was busy going full tilt trying to get everything sorted before the doors opened to the public (“You got chopsticks in any of those boxes?” I heard him gravely ask a delivery man.) Though these guys have always been into unsubtly showcasing big, punchy flavours for the grab ‘n go crowd, the new spot sounds like a more mature, sit down swing at bat; a fully loaded Second Act with a proper bar equipped with seven taps for beer, two for wine, and one each for prosecco and cider.
Will they still crank the 90s hip hop? Yes.
The menu reads like quite the conceptual expansion from the limited bao bun and sandwich selections at the original location. This time around we can also expect Hawaiian-style pokes (tofu, tuna, lobster), fresh oysters, curries, bao platters, bone broths, lobster pho, kimchi and pineapple fried rice, mussels in laksa, and lots of other delicious-sounding things besides.
Cool things to look out for: a 16 seat communal table made in house from a single piece of wood; Golden Child movie poster in the hall to the bathroom; bright Taka Sudo mural of an elephant and a water buffalo; an awesome pan-Asian triptych that includes Filipino baby Jesus, Lucky Cat, and Thai Buddha.
Cool thing you can’t see: kitchen grill that uses Thai pokpok charcoal.
It’s a lunch and dinner operation to start, but expect them to roll out a Hawaiian-style brunch service once they get everything dialled.