Bao Down has a new location in Olympic Village and it’s their Gastropub and Raw Bar. Their menu is slightly different than the one in Gastown and offers more than just bao.
I came with my coworkers the first time and had horrible service as we were not informed about an automatic service charge for groups of 6 or more. Also at the end of the meal, they didn’t show us the itemized bill before paying. So, we tipped about 15% on top of 18%. As one of my coworkers thought the meal was oddly expensive, she requested the itemized bill before leaving to go back to the office. We later found out there was the service charge.
After a few of us posted our frustration on Instagram, they invited us back for lunch on them. It was a nice gesture and they were able to change their service charge policy from 6 people to 8 people. Plus, they reassured us they have trained their staff a bit more so there is no more confusion for future customers.
The restaurant seats about 65 people and they do lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. I love the art piece on the left wall.
They have a wide variety of alcohol, but since it was a daytime lunch, we had to skip the alcohol.
The lunch time menu has poke bowls, salad, bao, curry, soup, and fries. Their menu seems to have been changing after hearing feedback from customers.
When they first opened, they didn’t have bao, which was shocking.
Poke Bowls comes with either ahi tuna, albacore tuna or tofu. You can choose the below sauces to go with it:
- Sweet shoyu-sesame
- Gochujang miso-mayo
Of the 3 sauces, the table liked the sweet shoyu-sesame as well as the gochujang miso-mayo. You can also choose from brown rice or white rice.
It’s a pretty good portion for lunch. In the bowl is also a lot of vegetables. Definitely very healthy lunch option.
The second time we went, we noticed they added pineapples to it and had less fried noodles on top.
Consistency of what goes into the bowls did change, but they are probably trying to test the dishes to find a good combination or perhaps they were trying to use fresher ingredients.
Bao Chicka Bao Bao has garlic, lemongrass fried chicken, daikon, crisp garlic, fish sauce glaze, carrot and garlic scape mayo. A lot of people seem to order this one. My coworkers liked it.
Phrench Dip comes with a pho broth dip so you can dunk the whole bao into it. It is an interesting concept but it was quite pricey. It was almost double the price of their other baos.
YVR Bao has sesame seared albacore tuna, pea shoots, double smoked bacon, avocado, wasabi mayo and sweet soy.
Japayoki Fries has fried chicken, curry cheese sauce, seaweed, jalapeño, bean sprouts, pea shoots, white and black sesame, sweet soy, scallions, and togarashi. We ordered the small to share and it was pretty good.
Kimchi Fries has kennebec potato fries, crispy pork belly, sweet soy, crispy garlic, bean sprouts, garlic scape mayo and scallions.
Another good combination. With both fries, I wish the fries were more crispy, but I can see how it would be difficult since there are a lot of sauce and toppings that go on top.
Overall, the food was good for a lunch stop. You have the classic baos and fries that you would find at their Gastown location. The dinner and brunch menus do vary, so you might not find these items at other times.
I personally find the baos ok, but I would prefer getting their poke bowls.
We Rate Bao Down:
115 West 2nd Avenue, Vancouver