It’s been four years since the almighty Belly Bao shot straight to the heart of Sydney’s food lovers. In 2013 they began trading fortnightly at Paddington Markets, growing a loyal following with lovingly steamed bao buns and various fillings like crispy fried chicken and crackling roast pork belly. They worked up a collective appetite among us that was so insatiable a move to a permanent spot was a given, which became a reality in 2015 when they became the resident kitchen at the legendary Goodgod Small Club (now Hudson Ballroom).
Now, after two years of watching people happily chow scoff down their baos, baogers, and fried chicken (which is brined for 24 hours before being battered, fried and flavoured with a house-made Asian spice mix – it’s fucking excellent) it seems the business is ready to take things to the next level, becoming part of the much wider community of restaurants, diners and cafes that line Newtown’s forever-busy King Street.
Yep, that’s right. Belly Bao are packing up their beloved Hudson’s Ballroom set-up and heading on up to the inner-west, and while the specific address is still under wraps, we can tell you that the team will be trading 6 days a week for both lunch and dinner, offering their existing menu and a few extensions to cater to the location and longer trading hours; this includes some healthier options and more vegetarian and vegan choices.
“Working within Goodgod and Hudson Ballroom has been an absolute blast, but we’re definitely looking forward to finally having our own little spot to show our true colours”, owner Sylvia Tran told the AU review. “When we first opened under Goodgod, I designed the menu and the look to cater for a club/pub late-night crowd. The menu definitely became more indulgent than I had foreseen, but it’s been heaps fun, and we’ll be keeping most of these classics going forward”.
The kitchen at the new spot will be more or less the same size as the one in Hudson Ballroom but the new space will allow Belly Bao a bit more flexibility, especially with streamlining some of the equipment. Punters will be glad to know this also means that they’ll be keeping their recently expanded range of baogers, especially the most popular choices like the original baoger – our favourite – chopped cheese baoger, and the sarsaparilla chicken baoger. Whether these remain weekly specials only available on certain days remains to be seen.
“Newtown’s the cultural hub of Sydney”, said Tran when asked about moving into the neighbourhood. “It’s such a fun, open, and laid-back community, I love the vibe and the life it emanates. I think it’s the perfect location for us and aligns really well with what Belly Bao stands for”.
With plans to obtain a liquor licence and some of the best damn fast-casual food around (seriously, that baoger is heaven) it’s looking like Belly Bao is set to make quite the impact on Newtown’s bustling food scene. More details should be announced closer to the date, but just know that the move is coming up fairly soon; they’re saying late August, early September.
For more info on Belly Bao and their current menu click HERE.
Images supplied and credited to Marcus Solomon.