I am very lucky to have nephews who feed me on trendy spots and when they give me a new address, I immediately obey. Lunch at Bleu Bao, the third restaurant opened in Paris by Celine Chung and Billy Pham, is pretty, fun, delicious for most dishes and definitely young. Their first successful spot, Gros Bao, is red and located on Canal Saint Martin. It serves Duck Beijing style. This one is blue, decorated with a Ming inspired wall paper from the collection of the V&A and serves bao (brioches) and dim sun as well as a delicious Aubergine Hong Shao dish.
We had to wait a few minutes outside since the restaurant does not take reservations and it opened very recently. Located in the trendy 9 th arrondissement just behind Notre Dame de Lorette, Blue Bao obviously appeals to very nice and friendly young professionals whom I discussed with in the queue. Its chefs are, Amandine Sepulcre-Huang, of Chinese ancestry from la Réunion and also a chess teacher, and Leslie Chirino, an Argentinian. The architects are Tala Gharagozlou and Virginie de Graveron from Atelieramo.
The service was extremely friendly and relaxed even though the tables are too small for the numerous Chinese dishes and the waitresses have to keep on clearing plates away. The secret of course is in choosing the menu so I will need to go back to taste more dishes. I asked my neighbor who was finishing lunch and recommended one of the best choices the Xiaolongbao Shanghai style, a steamed pork bao with broth inside and the pork Dongpo which is cooked so well, it melts in your mouth. But there are all kinds of other baos, brioche style, and noodles or vegetable dishes.
I had a Yiban Yiban lemon and cucumber juice with coriander and ginger, which was delicious, and there is Chinese beer as well as cocktails. My advice is to go a little on the late side for lunch so as not to queue. Bleu Bao, 8 rue Saint Lazare, Paris 9 Prices are around 75 € for two.
Share this Post
When I first read the name Bleu Bao the old song Blue Bayou came to mind, and as I read further, I realized that Gros Bao is the restaurant that took over the space of Two Stories, an ambitious New Orleans cuisine restaurant that had opened in that spot nearly 10 years ago. The ground floor served Cajun specialties like Po’Boys, fried chicken, and other casual dishes that could be consumed in their retro Cajun cabin style space or “to go” and enjoyed on the Canal. Upstairs, the second “story” was an elegant Louisiana Creole cuisine restaurant with the ambiance of the old-fashioned French Quarter New Orleans institutions such as Galatoire’s, and served the intricate French-based cuisine of the wealthy. Whether or not a coincidence, it is lovely (and delicious, it seems) to see and taste the results of cross cultural immigration.