The Gist: Traditional Cantonese steamed buns and Hong Kong-style street food
The Chefs: Z He and Alex Peffly
Location: 26-27 Lisle Street, London WC2H 7BA
Food in 5 words: Meat, sweets and street snacks
See more: https://bun.house/
How did we get there?
Bun House was launched last year on Greek Street in Soho by husband and wife team Z He and Alex Peffly. The duo followed it up with Pleasant Lady, two stalls selling jian bing, China’s answer to the pancake.
Now, they are returning to their original concept with a second steamed bun street cafe in a larger space on Lisle Street, in the heart of Chinatown. Scheduled for February 2019, the double-fronted restaurant will feature sliding glass windows opening up into the restaurant as well as a new outdoor counter for street-side nibbling.
“Having moved to the UK from Guangzhou, Chinatown has always felt like a noisy, thrilling slice of home in the middle of London,” said Z He.“It’s particularly exciting for us to open Bun House in the heart of Chinese food in the city, and we hope our buns will bring back memories of home for many.”
It seems like Londoners can’t keep their hands off buns, no matter the cuisine. The chefs behind Hackney’s Michelin-starred pub The Marksman are launching a British grab-and-go offering, Bunshop, at Market Halls Victoria in November. The spot will boast bun fillings like Welsh rarebit and mushroom as well as beef and barley with horseradish cream, served with a side of devilled fried potatoes that are seasoned with English seaweed instead of salt.
In Marlyebone, a new Taiwanese concept called Bao & Bing is set to specialise in steamed buns, Taiwanese pancakes and wheel cake made from adkuki beans, while Brighton street food outfit Baby Bao made its London debut in September with bao buns stuffed with Korean BBQ prawns, sesame, iceberg lettuce and coriander; and cumin-braised lamb shoulder with green chilli dressing.
There’s also Greek outfit Pittabun, which opened a few months ago with savoury and sweet bun options made using pitta-style bread.
What’s different about it?
The buns focus on Cantonese-style bao, which fully encase the filling, unlike the Taiwanese bao popularised by Flesh & Buns and Bao (the latter is also readying for a new site in spring 2019).
At Bun House, much-loved menu stalwarts will remain, like the char siu pork belly bun, the cumin-spiked lamb and the sweet custard bun, alongside two new additions, including a beef brisket.
The new opening will also pay homage to Hong Kong’s dai pai dong food stalls, a type of open-air food market, with a small hatch inside the restaurant serving up traditional street-food-style snacks.
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