Baotiful!

Updated: May 20, 2019, 08:09 IST | Dhara Vora Sabhnani

With pillowy baos, delectable sliders and unique flavours, a new eatery in Juhu proves to be a hit

Baotiful!
Lamb seekh bao

A cool name, a PR presence and millennial-friendly interiors is often where the innovation stops at most new restaurants in the city. And the neon signs inside the newly opened Fuu Qin in Juhu make us wonder if the recently launched eatery, which calls itself a modernist canteen, will rise to the occasion or get lost in a sea of cafés and restaurants in the western suburbs.

Snickers bar
Snickers bar

But the signs are good right from the start of our review of Fuu Qin, which translates to "father" in Chinese. The decor makes the most of the small space and we succumb to the temptation of Instagramming the neon signs. Owner Akshay Arora, who also runs Vanity Kitchen, a company that tailors meals for Bollywood stars, is present at the café and passionately takes us through the menu. Arora informs us that they use organic chicken, the baos and breads are made in-house and everything is prepared with healthy avocado oil.

Mushroom and tofu bao. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Mushroom and tofu bao. Pics/Bipin Kokate

The menu is sectioned into quickies (prawn corn dogs, fried buffalo mozzarella), baos, sliders and desserts. Now this might seem concise, but we are bowled over by the options in each section. Every dish is carefully curated, and offers a unique mix of flavours that translate beautifully on our table just like they read on the menu. Restaurants with 80 (lackluster) dishes on offer, please take note - it's not how much you have on the menu, but the robust flavours you manage to pack in whatever you plate that matters. Every dish has a different variety of bao and bun designed to go with its stuffing. Each item offers two portions, and the scales tip further on Fuu Qin's side, when we get to know that we can order half a plate, and try more options, which is a perfect way to review a place minus the guilt of wasting.

Daredevil chicken slider
Daredevil chicken slider

Excited, we start with a portion of daredevil chicken (Rs 295), sea bass (Rs 330) and lamb truffle (Rs 320) baos. The service is quick, and you see the chefs at work in the open kitchen, which occupies half of the restaurant. The sea bass is tempura fried and served between a charcoal bun with jalapeno, black pepper, cheddar and strings of beetroot floss peeping out. The tempura is perfect and we can feel the crunch even in the small slider. Fried chicken and pepper-jack cheese come in red potato buns for daredevil chicken and a jalapeno relish adds a little heat. The lamb truffle comes in a brioche bun, and a bite of the meat releases beautiful aromas of herbs, which go hand-in-hand with some white cheddar. We try all of this with a small bottle of yuzu lemonade (Rs 120) that tastes refreshing after we add just a little water to it.

Interiors

From their veg sliders, a Japanese style Katsu (Rs 240) offers a cabbage burger patty with an addition of our favourite tonkatsu sauce. Apple slaw adds a sweet-tarty finish to the slider. We haven't moved on to the baos so far, and are already sold. We recommend that you try their buttermilk chicken bao (Rs 310) with crispy chicken, honey sriracha and cheddar cheese mayo. The lamb seekh (Rs 350) bao offers a fuss-free chilli cheese lamb seekh, where the meat is the star of the dish. Arora informs us that they have a selection of sauces we could try in case something's missing in any of the dishes. All we manage to do is give a thumbs up, as we have no complaints and a mouth full of bao. Coconut crusted prawns (Rs 330) and mushroom and tofu baos (Rs 255) with an umami flavour are equally good, and we leave just a little room for dessert. We try a small sample of their gluten-free mini donuts, which are a tad dense and moist for our liking, so we parcel their Snickers bar (Rs 250). A caramel centre enveloped with peanuts, cocoa sponge and chocolate, we devour the bars in a couple of minutes and wish that we could make every restaurateur who charges Rs 850 for a theatrical dessert with no character try this.

By the end of our meal, we realise that we are satiated, and yet don't feel stuffed, a sign that Fuu Qin uses competent ingredients, which will keep us coming back for more.

Time: 12.30 pm to 11.30 pm
At: Fuu Qin, Juhu Supreme Shopping Centre, JVPD Scheme, Juhu.
Call: 9833403133

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