Operator packs big flavours from small kitchen thanks to refrigeration spec

Shing Tat Chung, BAO

A Taiwanese and Chinese street food-inspired restaurant chain has been able to maximise chilled storage at its sites thanks to the installation of a series of refrigeration equipment from Precision.

BAO, which recently opened a 47-cover site in Fitzrovia, London, specialises in ‘guabao’ steamed buns and ‘xiao chi’ small eats.

The focus is on the freshest possible ingredients to deliver the big flavours BAO promises and in a bid to keep ingredients in top condition, the chain chose Precision refrigeration for its newest site, which has a theatre-style kitchen in its basement.

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“Good refrigeration is paramount to what we do,” says founder Shing Tat Chung. “We use the highest quality ingredients we can source, and a wide and varied range of them. To keep our produce at its best quality, it’s essential to have precise and effective chilling and cooling systems.”

As in many London sites, space is at an absolute premium in BAO’s Fitzrovia restaurant.  In fact, the open plan kitchen measures just 25 square metres. With its existing property in Soho serving up to 300 covers a day, the operator’s aim was to specify refrigeration that cope with busy activity and not cost it a fortune in energy bills.

“The kitchen is actually larger here than in our Soho restaurant, and it’s open plan, so we are going to widen the menu as we have more room to work,” explains Chung. “As well as the guabaos, we will be serving a new selection of xiao chi, plus da chi (larger sharing plates) and rice bowls. We will also be serving a range of cocktails made using unusual ingredients such as galangal, peppered chestnut, sweet potato and beetroot bitters.”

Nine cabinets have been fitted into the kitchen, with the latest gastronorm cabinets, slimline cabinets, under counters and variable temperature drawers being used to maximise room. Wall-mounted refrigeration cabinets and a blast chiller were also accommodated despite the limitations on space.

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