There’s dumpling you should know about Baoziinn

Baoziinn is easily one of my favourite restaurants in London. I could and would happily live on their dim sum. There’s nothing that I love more than little handmade doughy parcels with a crispy bottom stuffed with crunchy prawns, steamed pork or salty mushrooms. Baoziinn is a small joint located on Romilly Street in the heart of Soho and is named after the Cantonese baozi dumpling.

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Situated in a converted corner townhouse, Baoziin is arranged over three floors and divided into five distinct dining spaces. Each room is decked with traditional Asian lanterns and decorative shutters, yet has some contemporary touches – with sleek slate floors, exposed brickwork and light oak tables.

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Here the dumplings steal the show from their other dim sum offerings and are a real work of art. They are cased in vivid pinks and bright greens from the dough which has been coloured with natural flavourings such as beetroot and spinach, meaning they are perfect from the ‘gram. However it’s not just the instagrammable appeal of Baoziin’s food, but the bursts of flavour that come with each bite.

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All of the dishes here are perfect for sharing, so just order a bunch for the table. Get the xiao long bao which are steamed dumplings made from a mix of spinach and turmeric juice and are filled with the classic pork mince, with a broth which explodes from the parcels as your bite into them.

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The ruby prawn dumplings wrapped in beetroot pastry, a spinach pastry containing prawn and chive dumplings and watercress prawn dumplings encased in turmeric pastry are a trio not to be missed. They were all perfectly steamed, with the flavoured pastry adding subtle extra depth to each dish.

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But enough about the dumplings, for you can’t go to Baoziinn are not order the pork baozi buns; either in spinach juice dough or just plain. They’re soft and fluffy on the outside, but sweet and sticky on the inside.

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I recommend ordering the ma la beancurd sheet minced pork and prawn rolls from the grilled section. The crisp beancurd wrapped around plump prawns comes in six bite-sized pieces which are crunchy and delicious. By using beancurd sheets rather than traditional pasty gives the rolls a texture and flavour that will leave you wanting more.

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The dan dan noodles also impressed me, the homemade noodles are not too thin nor too fat. They’re served tender and fresh but in a spicy, flavoursome sesame and peanut sauce, which is topped with minced pork and Sichuanese preserved mustard greens – this dish really does pack a punch. So if you’re lucky enough to visit with your spice wimp boyfriend, you can gobble the whole dish to yourself.

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Baoziinn has quickly become my go-to place in London for affordable and tasty dumplings. If you’re a dim sum fan, Baoziinn should be next on your hit list.

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Baoziinn, 24 Romilly St, Soho, London W1D 5AH

Polish Village Meals

A few weeks ago, I was offered the chance to try and review some Polish cuisine. I’m heading to Warsaw next month and I must admit I’ve never tried Polish cuisine before. So when The Polish Village Bread got in touch with me asking me to try some of their food, I was excited to try something new which would prepare me for my upcoming trip.

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I got home from work one Friday and found a bulging bag of goodies on my doorstep and the amount stuffed into the bag was more than generous – I must admit I was pretty excited to find it as it meant I didn’t have to try and create dinner out of scraps in the fridge.

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I adore dumplings and in my goody bag I found three different types of pierogi: potato and soft cheese, sauerkraut, and pork and onion. Piregois are little plump dumplings, which are crimped into sun shapes. Dumplings are little heavenly packages which can be either sweet or sour. They’re so tasty and they don’t really deserve insulting ‘dump’ syllable at the start.

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I simply boiled them for a couple of minutes and then finished them off in a frying ban with some butter to give them a beautiful crisp shell. All the flavours were so good, but the pork and onion ended up being my favourite. I served up all the dumplings with a side salad of rocket and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, which my mum and brother tucked into and thoroughly enjoyed.

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Next came the chicken escalopes, which were served with cheese and mushrooms on top, sort of like a chicken pizza. Now you can’t go wrong with melted cheese but this is a dish I’ve made a fair few times and is incredibly easy to make. If you want to try Polish cuisine that you can’t make yourself, I’d opt for the peirogi any day.

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The next day we feasted on a lunch of pancakes, or krokiety, as they’re called in Poland. They’re not pancakes as I know them, I’d describe them more like a croquette with a crunchy exterior. We sampled three different flavours which included, spinach and cheese,  mushrooms and cheese, and spicy chicken and mixed vegetable. The spinach and cheese was a firm favourite, and I’ll definitely be ordering myself a portion of these babies when I head to Warsaw. (I’m afraid to say I forgot to take a photo of these as I wolfed them down too quickly).

I also received a couple of portions of sauerkraut, which I’ve only had a handful of times. It was a bit too tart for me but my dad just tipped into into a bowl and ate the whole thing and was singing its praises for days afterwards.

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The only sweet thing in the bag was the fruit cake, which hardly lasted a couple of seconds in my house. It’s a polish fruit cake, so it’s not one of those dense cakes with dried fruit packed in – instead it’s more of a fluffy sponge with fruit on top. It was so light and heavenly, I’d definitely be ordering that again.

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If you’re interested in tasting some Polish cuisine for yourself, you can try the whole range here.