Cape Town’s hottest bao spot has been busting at the seams in their Orangezicht location ever since opening in 2018. Small sharing plates are delicious and great for casual meals with friends.
Bao Down is not moving far, but joins the Greenpoint hub of El Burro and Jason Bakery on Main Road.
Wonderful food, wonderful setting!
So delicious! Everything about it makes you feel special even though its a really popular restaurant and you need an advance booking
This was our third visit to the quaint little establishment behind the Gardens Centre. As massive foodie groupies of Graham Oldfield from his Chef's Warehouse days, we return every few months, mainly for the prawn toast.
Last night was a special occasion, so I booked long in advance to secure a table. (our previous visits were slightly more impulsive, and we were seated at the counter for those) . We were seated at a table by the wall, behind a large group. This is the only reason I didnt give them 5 stars for ambience. The group (not overly rowdy by any means) caused a bit of a struggle for us to hear each other's conversations easily.
The service is slick, and flawless. Friendly hostesses/waiters top up wine and water glasses effortlessly, and food came out at a steady pace.
As you may have gathered, I am a big fan of the prawn toast. The menu is set up for sharing between 2 people. I agree to share everything, except prawn toast. That I want all to myself.
We started the meal with these, some cucumber salad, which was so good we ordered another, and the house kimchi. We followed for chicken bao, beef brisket wontons and the vegetarian dish - spinach and pea cake - which was the star of the show.
The texture of the cake on first appearances looked a little gelatinous, but the texture was everything but that. It was comforting and moreish. The accompanying mushrooms exploded with flavour, texture and umami. I could eat that every day for the rest of my life.
We ordered a few slices of the dessert pie, which had miso in, topped with a lemon meringue topping, and scattered with corn flakes. A taste sensation all on its own.
We accompanied our meal with Gabrielskloof THE BLEND red wine, which is a 2016 Bordeaux blend. It complimented the meal perfectly and was quite affordable for the elegance it delivered.
The evening bill worked out to around R400pp, including the wine, which I believe, is excellent value for money at this level of cooking.
I have no doubt that we'll be back. And I wish Graham and the team all the accolades that come their way - so well deserved.
Had dinner there 3 times now and its always amazing. I personally found the ceviche/ fish carpaccio to be a bit overwhelming with flavor but everyone else at the table loved it, each visit. The star is the prawn toast- possibly one of the best things Ive ever eaten. The venue is small and beautifully decorated- I would ignore the reviews above about it being too loud unless you are also 100 years old. Booking essential on the weekends it seems.
Bao Down is a welcoming addition to Vredehoek Avenue and a pleasant addition to the list of Asian eateries in Cape Town. It's simple in decor and design but complex in its flavours - a space where the food really takes centre stage.
Bao buns, beef tataki & the spinach and pea cake were some of the savoury plates we shared, but what impressed us most was the lemon & miso tart - one of those stand-out desserts that for a moment made you feel like you're sitting in the heart of New York. Perhaps the cornflake crisp was responsible for that.
With multiple seatings and minimal space it creates a full atmosphere, the perfect spot for a dinner date or catch-up with close friends. We'll definitely be back.