I like to participate in life rather than be a spectator. Music, dancing, theatre, travelling, food, cycling and walking are some of my passions. Writing is an enjoyable pastime that allows me to share my experiences.
From a market stall in September 2015 via a food truck, Nathan Martin and Dean aka The Bao Brothers have opened an eatery In the Newcastle's Westend. Their uniquely flavoured take on traditional Taiwanese street food is matched by the quirky decor and the fun vibe.
The unremarkable facade opens onto a bustling take away area. Eat-in patrons are ushered down a hallway decorated as a lantern festooned laneway and are seated in a crazy booth room or at communal benches. The conversation flows easily as diners discuss the various wall posters, it is a happy, casual, noisy and fun place in which to eat.
The smiling waitress describes the order system, where the diners mark a paper with the order similar to yum cha. The form is divided into categories such as smalls, sides and sweets and options are marked according to 'heat' and suitability for vegetarians and those on gluten-free diets. The menu is designed for grazing and sharing and you are encouraged to use your hands. There is cutlery on hand if needed and jugs of tap water are provided. Currently, they are unlicensed and the drinks menu is canned sodas, cola and bottled water but no tea or coffee.
The vegetarian wood ear mushroom spring rolls are so much tastier than traditional offerings and generously proportioned for $4 each. The creamy salty soy mayo complements the earthy flavour very well. The Bao buns are soft and light and contain fillings like soft shell crab, fried chicken, duck, pork and miso mushroom. Each Bao is $7.50 or $8.50 and you can purchase a box containing one Bao, a spring roll and crunchy coriander flavoured coleslaw for $12.50.
The indoor dining laneway & quirky decor (image JW)