Set in a cute converted house in Fitzrovia, Bam-bou is a South East Asian restaurant offering a range of fusion dishes from Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and China. With offerings of softshell crab, charcoaled duck right through to mushroom & tofu hot pot & rice, it has something for all appetites. There is a good range for vegetarians with ten meat free options to choose from.
We had four starters/sharing plates and two mains, with a bottle of wine and service the bill came to £70 (this was with their January 50% off all food promotion).
I decided to order a mixture of seafood and meat as there were lots of options for both on an interesting sounding menu. From the ‘Smaller Plates’ I ordered soft shell crab which was battered and came with a tofu spiced mayonnaise. Visually it looked great but there was far too much batter surrounding the crab which made it taste quite bland, the mayonnaise was however, delicious. Along with the crab I ordered chili bay scallops with vegetables, this was a big disappointment; they were chewy and far too spicy to enjoy properly.
For the main course I ordered quail with pickled vegetables, I was recommended to order a side of rice with the dish too, which I did (just boiled rice). I was expecting the quail to be slices of the breast meat but they were actually a breast and legs, almost like chicken wings in appearance. The meat was delicate on the inside and the skin crispy and well-seasoned, the standout dish of the night for me and would recommend to anyone that visits to give it a try.
Overall I felt rushed throughout the whole meal (even though we arrived early) at one point I even had 2 separate waiters pour me wine before I’d even had the chance to take a sip. We were also told that we probably didn’t have time to order dessert, so we didn’t.
Starting with the soft fragrant rolls and the hot & sour soup with shitake & cashew wonton; the fragrant rolls were freshly prepared with tofu & avocado complimenting the sharp vinegar dipping sauce. They were definitely the highlight of my meal.
The shitake & cashew wonton was flavoursome but over cooked as they had fallen apart in the soup. The broth was delicate with shredded cabbage, mushrooms and bean sprouts to accompany the wontons, but again the cabbage was slightly overcooked and limp.
For my main I had the one vegetarian main meal option; mushroom & tofu hot pot & rice. Served in a Japanese Tetsubin bowl, the tofu was well cooked with in a sweet, ginger soy sauce and finished with sesame seeds and served with sticky rice. The portion was quite small for a main serving so I was happy I sampled two starters. All the food was well presented and brought out in a timely fashion, but disappointingly the whole experience lacked any wow factor.
We were informed only after our mains that we had 20 minutes to eat dessert should we have ordered as they needed the table back. We had only been there for an hour, and feeling pressured we decided not to have dessert. The service was adequate, but again nothing worth writing home about.