Baotime is a Richmond eatery dedicated to the “bao”. While many restaurants in Melbourne serve the bao, Baotime’s variety are a cut above courtesy of being handmade resulting in a fluffy, soft and delicate bun.
We were delighted to meet owner and founder of Baotime Jes Lau who explained to us that Baotime was created with the vision to provide warm meals and childhoods to children in need, offering hope and love to the less fortunate kids in the world.
We loved her energetic passion which has translated into a compelling business model - offering patrons with a top notch dining experience.
The menu, much like the venue is kept small but packs a punch with gourmet bao fillings, delicious drinks and a selection of mains. The gourmet fillings and mains draw from Jes’ Malaysian background. Growing up in Malaysia (Asia’s cultural melting pot), Jes has been exposed to many different interesting flavours. These flavours evoke childhood memories and these are the very flavours she seeks to share with her customers.
From left: Air Mata Kuching - fruity longan juice; Honey Lemon drink
We started with a couple of heart-warming drinks. Both the Air Mata Kuching and Honey Lemon drinks were delightful and especially comforting on an unseasonably cold Melbourne evening.
The Captain Bao was filled with Succulent braise pork belly garnished with crushed peanuts. Featuring the tried and true flavour combination of braised pork in soy sauce, we enjoyed the generous morsels of tender pork belly. It really hit the mark!
The Cuckoo Bao was another winner. We loved the oozy mozzarella cheese which was lifted by the slight kick from the chilli.
The Farmer Bao impressed with beautifully roasted pumpkin and tofu garnished with mushrooms. We loved the contrast of textures between the mellow tofu and the robust pumpkin and earthy mushrooms. It was a delightful vegetarian bao that would which would appeal to even the most carnivorous individuals.
Chilli Crab Bao
The Chilli Crab Bao was outstanding. The batter was ethereally light and crispy. The soft shell crab which sat within the batter was fresh and most memorable. The bold chilli broth was the perfect accompaniment with its wonderful punchy flavours, synonymous with Malaysian curries.
Mini Bao platter: Lobster Bao; Tempura Prawn Bao; Aburi Scallop Bao
The Mini Bao Platter similarly impressed. We enjoyed the mini version of the luxurious Lobster Bao in particular which was filled with Moreton bay bug dressed in mayo and a refreshing pineapple salad.
Our dinner concluded on a sweet high with a couple of sweet baos starting with a stunning little Kahwin Bao filled with housemade kaya jam and butter, and a side of coconut ice cream. The brioche-like baos were filled with kaya jam and worked perfectly with the side of coconut ice cream.
The Durian Bao (strictly for Durian lovers ONLY), was a stand out. The decadent durian ice cream was a welcome departure from the usually weak flavours and instead was vibrant, creamy and absolutely moreish while the Durian Bao itself was wonderful and filled with rich durian flesh - YUM.
Baotime pleases with unique and flavoursome baos satisfying the demand of Melbournians for delicious Modern Asian cuisine.