A quirky little eatery on Hunter Street is a dream come true for Newcastle brothers-in-law Nathan Martin and Dave Griffin.
Better known as the Bao Brothers, the pair have been exciting palates since September 2015. It all started with a humble market stall, progressed to a portable food truck and is now a new and unique restaurant serving authentic Taiwanese street food with a twist.
Bao Brothers Eatery is a welcome addition to the rich complexity of flavours already on offer in the city.
“As a chef it’s always a dream to get your own place and to do it with my brother-in-law, who is also a passionate foodie, makes it even better,” Mr Griffin said.
“We started small at the markets and once we got the product to the level we were happy with, we got our systems and procedures in place and moved on to the truck. The end goal was always to evolve that into a funky eatery with lots of art and a good vibe.”
Bao Brothers operated from inner-city wine bar Reserve for a time, too.
“Reserve were fantastic. They said go for it, come in and take over the kitchen,” Mr Martin said.
“Dave’s the kitchen man and I have ideas for front of house. He has worked at Subo and I’ve got a passion for cooking for family and friends. I love how food brings people together.”
This is apparent in the layout of Bao Brothers Eatery, which encourages communal eating.
“It’s an old building and we wanted to maximise the space,” Mr Griffin said.
“You walk in the front room and it’s all minimalistic, then there’s a normal shop, then out the back is a crazy booth room and the laneway filled with lanterns.
“I love the buzz of the street food scene and our seating plan is inspired by that.”
The new menu is “completely different” from the pop-up version, Mr Griffin says: “Small snacks, sides, two desserts and six types of bao – one is a share bao you can build yourself.”
The venue will be licensed, pending final approval, and all beverages will be sold in cans. Even wine.
“We’ll have four or five Asian beers in cans as well as Japanese Sake and an Aussie wine, just to offer a point of difference. We’ll also have a soda machine to make two Asian-inspired soft drinks, one with kaffir lime, to avoid using big name brands.”