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Bun House & Tea Room, Soho

If you haven’t visited this little newly opened joint in the westend, I’m afraid my friend, you’re missing out. Bun house has a Hongkong retro traditional cafe kind of vibe. It’s only been opened for a couple of months, and the perky little buns have taken the instagram foodie world by storm. I’ve always been a fan of Hong Kongese cuisine, especially the ones served in the traditional cafe/delis(茶餐厅). So I had to check it out.

The decor style is right up my street: retro chic, and brings such a good nostalgic feeling if you’ve been to Hong Kong or have watched any Wong Kar Wai films before. The few of us ordered almost everything on the menu. The portions were small enough for you to sample a wide range of little things. I particularly recommend the pickles(that’s if you’re a pickle person). We went for the bun primarily, but the pickles were such pleasant surprises.

After just a brief wait, waves of food were brought up to our table.

Each bun is stamped with the ingredient inside of it. They were not only yummy, but also educational dare I say. There goes your complimentary Chinese lesson.

We had chicken, seafood, mushroom, pork, lamb and egg custard buns….well, everything literately.

Pork is always a firm favourite. And the ladies also loved the mushroom buns, while the guys thought the chicken and lamb were the winners.

And I have to mention the glass noodle salad. It has to be my favourtie dish there at the Bun house, despite all the goodness from the delicious little buns. The glass noodles tasted refreshing yet flavourful. Just the right balance between sweetness, sourness and chilliness, and the topping of coriander blends everything together perfectly. If you wanted some extra punch though, there’s always more soysauce/ chili oil there for you to help yourself with. A must-have if you visit the Bun house. I insist.

Last but not lease, we had the egg custard buns. If you’re a sucker for sweet stuff, then be very careful this may be addictive for you.

By the time we finished our accidentally-had-one-too-many-bun lunch, I noticed a staircase leading down with a golden locked gate in front of it. To me, it was screaming: come and explore! We asked the staff about downstairs, and turned out there’s a proper restaurant call the Tea Room just beneath the Bun House. It wasn’t open at the time, but we were given the menu to have a browse. After just one glance, we decided to make a reservation for the weekend that week.

So on that Saturday, I found myself back around Soho, ready to try out the other part of the restaurant. The place opens at 5pm everyday, perfect for a pre-theatre meal if you have a show booked in the westend that evening.

When you see the green light, it means go.

Still along the retro theme, the downstairs restaurant is much darker and gives a more luxurious feel. The drinks menu arrived in the form of old newspapers which I thought was a clever touch. The selection was very generous with a few types of beer, spirits, homemade rice wine infused with different flavours and an extensive list of oriental cocktails.

Soon after we ordered, small sharing dishes arrived at the table. More of those yummy pickles and some delightful little nibbles to go down with the drinks. We talked and laughed while appreciating the food, like what how it was always like when you eat back home in China. The interior style, the background music as well as the dishes definitely encouraged and inspired us all to do exactly that without even noticing. And that’s what I reckon a great restaurant should be: a space so inviting and even hypnotizing that it somehow teleport you to an entire different space and time. That’s what the Tea Room does exactly.

After a stream if little bites, our main event was there: the Char Siu claypot rice, and the vegeterian mushroom claypot rice. We added an soft boiled tea stained egg to each pot, of course.

The flavours from the pork and mushroom penetrates all the way down to the bottom of the pot, and the rice absorbs all the oil and taste. It taste as good as it shows on the picture, if not better. It was so good, in fact we ordered another after finishing the two pots.

And at the end, we all finished with something sweet. The deep fried sticky milk donut is the guiltiest pleasure of them all.

I guarantee you will leave this place with pure happiness and a very full tummy.

Find them here.

 

*Sleeveless trench and irregular hem dress both from Whole9Yards.