Siblings Shing Tat Chung, Wai Ting Chung and Erchen Chang – the team behind BAO – have confirmed they will open a new Taiwanese restaurant named XU on Tuesday 23 May on Rupert Street, Soho.
The entrepreneurial trio will open the new stylish split-level site on the borders of Soho and China Town next month, introducing a whole new side to the team's culinary and creative talent.
XU is set across two floors and offers a cocktail bar, Taiwanese tea bar and private dining space; as well as the sophisticated 76-cover restaurant.
A completely new concept and direction for the trio, XU will further immerse diners into the world of Taiwanese cuisine, showcasing the island's unique cultural diversity, as well as taking influence from the team's travels across mainland China.
Open for lunch and dinner service seven days a week, XU will also serve rare and competition level Taiwanese teas, providing a bold and interesting addition to London's diverse restaurant scene.
Pronounced ‘Shu’ and named after Erchen's late grandfather, the restaurant will pay homage to the rich history and cultural past of Taiwan. Taiwanese cuisine has been shaped by the many different regional mainland Chinese provinces close to the island, for example Hunan, Fujian and Zhejiang, as well as through Japanese and Dutch colonies, and the indigenous tribes that make up Taiwan. Split into sections, the menu starts with Xiao Tsai or 'bar snacks' such as 'Oyster & taro congee' and 'Young squab with loquat'.
Moving then to larger dishes, such as 'Crab with chilli egg drop sauce' and Grilled Fish of the Day – ‘Cornish day boat fish marinated in fermented bean curd chilli with grilled bone vinegar sauce’, alongside ‘Mangalitza rib rice – diced Mangalitza pork ribs mixed with a blend of rice & spices, steamed on a bed of sweet potato & topped with foie gras’. Taiwanese street food has also inspired some of the dishes, from pan-fried soup dumplings or 'Shengjian Bao' to pancakes filled with 40-day aged beef shortrib, roast marrow and pickles.
Alongside the food menu, Taiwanese tea - inspired by Erchen's grandfather's love of the elegant loose leaf teas commonly drunk in his native Taiwan - will take centre stage at the new restaurant. Situated on the ground floor will be a dedicated 'tea bar', housing teas from across Taiwan, giving Londoners a rare glimpse into the art of traditional Taiwanese tea ceremonies.
The team has sourced some of the best and most undiscovered tea to serve at XU, with each variety to be carefully brewed by the in-house tea master. Both hot and cold brew options will be available. Tea will also be available to take home, with each batch roasted to the customer's desired level. Teas will include a hand-picked Assam - a luxury black tea, grown in Nantou in Taiwan, through to specialist competition teas such as Baozhong from Pingling.
The interiors at XU exude sophistication, giving a nod to 1930s Taiwan. The team worked closely with renowned design team BradyWilliams - who are responsible for the interiors at some of London's most recognisable restaurants such as Corbin & King's Fischer's and Bellanger, to create a space echoing the most glamourous and elegant of dining destinations. Shayne Brady, Creative Director at Brady Williams commented of the vision – “We have collaborated with the BAO team to create a reinterpretation of a stylised cinematic stage set of Taipei in the 1930s”.
XU will offer a unique journey into Taiwanese culture and cuisine never seen before in London, from its food, cocktails and tea offering through to its interiors, diners will be transported to the mountainous regions of the island through to the busy streets of Taiwan's capital city, Taipei.