BAO London has unveiled its new flagship restaurant and bakery in the heart of the city at Pancras Square, King’s Cross. Café BAO stands out from its predecessors with a dedicated bakery and takeaway service for bubble tea and coffee. The 3,000-square-foot concept also features a design from Macaulay Sinclair that draws upon Taiwanese domestic and culinary traditions. “There is a Taiwanese playfulness in the details,” Macaulay Sinclair director Mike Sinclair. “Café BAO’s design is led by the simplicity and honesty of the culture and evokes the nostalgic domesticity of traditional Taiwanese kitchens, houses, and eateries.”

The space is distinguished by a simple materiality, which was conceived to recall the classic timelessness of Taiwanese interiors. The bar area is clad with plaster, while stained high-lacquered timberwork forms a backdrop for birch veneer furniture. Upholstered chalk blue leather chairs are also paired with timber-edged tables atop bright red flooring reminiscent of Taiwan’s traditional canteens. Plain white tiles also span the restaurant in tandem with bespoke joinery.

Visitors are welcomed by views of the café’s open kitchen, which is framed by glazed timber screens. Long white paper lanterns contextualize the double-height interior along with timber screens made from white, origami-style fabric. A powdercoated metal staircase leads to the mezzanine, where an additional open kitchen is accented with working utensils suspended from bakery cabinets that infuse a domestic flair.

A large communal workshop table also anchors the space to host bao-making workshops. The soft curvature of the balustrade subtly contrasts the architectural details of the interior while also complementing warm, bespoke timber paneling.

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